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Allergic to working out

May 6, 2013 3:05:17 PM PDT
Three years ago Jason Schramm was getting ready to workout. He ate some dried cranberries, got on the treadmill and 10 minutes later, he did not feel so well.

"I noticed my throat felt itchy my eyes were watering so I stopped," Schramm said.

He's battled allergies all his life and recognized the early signs, but this time it was the exercise that caused reaction.

For some people, it's thought that exercise triggers an immune response, causing the body to go on attack and release histamines.

"In an exercise induced allergic reaction, people can have hives, lip swelling, facial swelling, tightness in chest abdomen, respiratory system and it can be life threatening," Dr. Cliff Bassett, medical director Allergy and Asthma Care of New York, said.

Allergist Dr. Cliff Bassett says it's rare, but for about half the patients with an exercise allergy, it's triggered by certain foods.

"Many people that have this condition cannot eat any food within at least 6 hours of exercising," he said.

Heat and humidity can also make it worse, so can alcohol and anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin and ibuprofen

So how do you know if you have it? Like most allergies part of it is putting 2 and 2 together, recognizing when the symptoms happen and knowing this condition even exists

"If people have symptoms with exercise they feel warm flushed itchy they have hives get it checked out and see a specialist," Bassett said.

There are tests that can help confirm the diagnosis it. Dr. Bassett says those with a severe exercise allergy may need to take medication before working out. Jason did not give up exercise, but now he only works out first thing in the morning and doesn't eat anything before.

"Thankfully, I haven't gone out for a meal .and then been chased by robbers and had to run down the street and see how that bears," he joked.

For those who have it, it's recommended that they carry an EpiPen and workout with other people around just in case.


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