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November 14, 1980

Effectiveness of a Portable Face Mask in Attenuating Exercise-Induced Asthma

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine (Drs Brenner and Loren) and Physiology (Dr Weiser and Ms Krogh), National Asthma Center, Denver. Dr Weiser and Ms Krogh are now with the Institute for Health Education, Lutheran Medical Center, Wheatridge, Colo.

JAMA. 1980;244(19):2196-2198. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310190048024

Recent investigations have demonstrated that exercise-induced asthma (EIA) can be prevented by inspiration of warm, fully humidified air during exercise. We evaluated the success of a surgical face mask, used to retain warm, humidified, expired air, in preventing EIA in ten asthmatic children. Subjects underwent six minutes of exercise on a treadmill during two sessions, in one session breathing room air and in another wearing a mask covering the nose and mouth. On the control day, average group forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) and maximal midexpiratory flow rate (MMEF) decreased from the preexercise baseline value to 66% and 47% of baseline, respectively, at six minutes; on the mask day, FEV1 and MMEF were 91% and 82% of the baseline values (increased in all subjects). A simple face mask may be an inexpensive, nonpharmacologic alternative for alleviation of EIA.

(JAMA 244:2196-2198, 1980).