Do You Have An Exercise Allergy? Have you ever experienced itching during your exercise routine? If you haven’t, then you are very lucky because some people literally can’t exercise without being plagued by a painful, burning itch accompanied by hives. Did you even realize that some people could be allergic to exercise?
Imagine telling your gym teacher that you can’t participate in the normal class activities because you are are allergic to exercising. Because this disease is uncommon, your teacher likely wouldn’t believe you, and would make your participate with the rest of the class.
Exercise Allergy or Exercise-Induced Urticaria
The official name for this potentially life-threatening and painful disorder is called exercise-induced urticaria. The symptoms vary greatly between individuals who have it.
Sometimes the itching is caused by something other than exercise-induced urticaria. For instance, if your “allergy” appears out of nowhere, and only occurs every once in awhile while you work out. In this case you may have just brushed up against an irritant during your workout. Or perhaps you are allergic to your laundry detergent. You could even have a skin fungus that is being irritated by the sweat produced during your workout. But if those reasons don’t seem to be the cause for all of the itching, it might really be an allergy.
Have you ever experienced any signs of exercise allergy?
If you have ruled out the above alternatives for itchy skin, there are several things that you can do to try and curb your symptoms!
- Since the itching is commonly linked to an actual allergy, histamines may be released into the plasma during periods of increased physical contact. Try taking an antihistamine 30-60 minutes before a workout. This can reduce the symptoms in a body because the antihistamines will counteract the added histamine levels.
- Temperature can play a role in the degree of the burning and itching felt. If you only experience symptoms when exercising in very cold or very hot conditions, try to exercise in normal temperatures and see if that helps. If you must exercise in extreme conditions, bundle up if it’s cold, or wear as little clothing as possible if it’s hot.
- Never exercise alone, as you could have a severe attack (if you have exercise-induced anaphylaxis) which could put you into shock. If you experience any symptoms past uncomfortable itching, it is a very good idea to keep an epi-pen with you any time you exercise. By administering the epi-pen during a time of shock, you can buy yourself some time before trained medical help arrives.
- Experiment with different types of exercise to see if there is a workout method that won’t cause you to break out. Swimming has a lot of benefits, and since you are in the water, you may not experience the same irritation that you do outside of the pool. You could also incorporate some exercises that don’t involve cardio into your routine. Yoga and Pilates may be a good way to work your body, without experiencing the allergy symptoms.
- Don’t use your handicap to completely stop all exercise. This will lead to a very unhealthy lifestyle, and will give you a lot of problems later on in life. Talk with your doctor and figure out a workout plan that will fit your lifestyle so that you can remain active and healthy. Doctors may suggest that you should first exercise on a treadmill or elliptical at home so that you can avoid embarrassing episodes of itching out in public.
If you suspect that you are one of the rare people who have an exercise allergy, don’t despair! As with most allergies, there are many things that you try to do that will help you in gaining control of your allergy. Hopefully more will be known about this affliction in the future so that those who have exercise allergy (exercise-induced urticaria) don’t have to suffer when they want to go for a run!