A1 Journal article (refereed)
Asthma, allergies and respiratory symptoms in different activity groups of swimmers exercising in swimming halls (2021)

Päivinen, M., Keskinen, K., Putus, T., Kujala, U. M., Kalliokoski, P., & Tikkanen, H. O. (2021). Asthma, allergies and respiratory symptoms in different activity groups of swimmers exercising in swimming halls. BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation, 13, Article 119. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13102-021-00349-2

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsPäivinen, Marja; Keskinen, Kari; Putus, Tuula; Kujala, Urho M.; Kalliokoski, Pentti; Tikkanen, Heikki O.

Journal or seriesBMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation


Publication year2021

Publication date04/10/2021


Article number119

PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media LLC

Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/78082


Respiratory symptoms are common in competitive swimmers. However, among these and in swimmers at other activity levels the swimming distance, the total spent time in swimming halls and their medical background varies. Our objectives were, first, to assess their medical histories and the associations with respiratory symptoms among swimmers in different activity groups and then second, to study the pulmonary function findings and related medications in competitive swimmers who exercise in swimming hall environments the most.

First, 1118 participants consisting of 133 competitive-, 734 fitness- and 251 occasional swimmers answered questionnaires concerning their medical background, their respiratory symptoms in connection to swimming distance and their amount of time spent in swimming halls. Secondly, in 130 competitive swimmers, pulmonary function was tested by spirometry and a specific questionnaire was used to assess respiratory symptoms, medical histories and prescribed medication.

Respiratory symptoms were reported by 18% of the studied swimmers. Competitive swimmers had significantly more symptoms than fitness- and occasional swimmers. Naturally competitive swimmers swum more than 2000 m and stayed by the pool more than 90 min, longer than the other activity groups of swimmers. Spirometry testing showed airway obstruction in 15 swimmers, which was 12% of the 130 competitive swimmers. 21 of them, had physician-diagnosed asthma and 16 of these individuals had prescribed medication for it.

Competitive swimmers had the highest swimming hall exposure and reported significantly more respiratory symptoms. A high prevalence of airway obstruction findings in competitive swimmers with asthma and allergies suggests a need for future recommendations for regular testing and special medical care for competitive swimmers.

Keywordsasthmaallergyrespiratory organsrespiratory tract diseaseslungslung diseasesairways (respiratory organs)swimmingswimmersindoor swimming pools (sports halls)medicinespharmacotherapy

Free keywordsasthma; allergy; respiratory symptoms; pulmonary function; swimming halls; swimming

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2021

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 17:16