We know – what? Allergic to exercise? YES it’s true, this is a real life problem some people have! What is it? How? What? Are you as confused as us? It’s been engrained into our brains for so long that exercise is one of the top things we can do to help keep us healthy, how is it possible that someone can actually be allergic to exercise? Let us break it down for you.
It’s called exercise-induced anaphylaxis and those with the allergy experience flushing of the skin, hives, swelling, nausea and other symptoms. It can actually get pretty serious – but don’t worry, because the chances of actually having the allergy is extremely rare as it affects only 50 out of 100,000 people.
Why this happens is still unknown but researchers are working on it. Awareness has picked up, and researchers have found that the most common form of the allergy is food and exercise combined called food-dependent, exercise-included anaphylaxis which affects 30% to 50% of people with the allergy. With this, symptoms will appear when they are triggered with a certain food before participating in exercise (wheat and shellfish are the most common).
Other people experience symptoms if they take Aspirin before a workout. Symptoms can become worse as well such as swollen tongues, and trouble breathing. Some women only experience symptoms when they’re on their menstrual cycle because of the abundance of estrogen in the body. The amount of exercises needed to trigger a reaction varies per person, everyone is different. It’s also been reported that swimming triggers the least amount of reactions in people!
EpiPens help manage the allergy and it’s wise to avoid exercise on days that you eat trigger foods or take a trigger drug. If you experience a reaction while you’re exercising, it’s best to visit your preferred medical professional right away.