Exercise induced anaphylaxis is an allergic reaction which is caused due to physical exertion. It can be a serious condition which can even cause death.
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction which is caused due to various allergens. Causes of anaphylaxis can be divided into two types: IgE mediated and non IgE mediated. IgE mediated allergy is related to the sensitization of the immune system which on re exposure may result in severe reactions. Non IgE mediated reactions do not require any sensitization and hence the first or subsequent exposure results in severe conditions.
Exercise induced anaphylaxis or EIA comes under the category of non IgE mediated reactions. They are very rarely found but can be as severe as the other causes. Exercises in any form like jogging, tennis, swimming, walking, dancing can induce this type of allergic reaction. Let’s find out the causes, symptoms and treatment of this type of allergic reaction.
Exercise Induced Anaphylaxis Causes
Exercise alone cannot induce anaphylaxis. There are many co-factors which contribute and cause EIA. Following are some of the causes which, with exercises or physical activities, cause anaphylaxis.
- Consumption of drugs like aspirin and other non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs few hours before exercising may induce this allergic reaction.
- Food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (FDEIA) is quite common. Food such as shellfish, tomatoes, peanuts, wheat, corn, seeds, milk, soy bean, lettuce, peas, beans, rice and various meats may be responsible for the allergic reactions. Physical activities after the consumption of these types of food even after a few hours may result in the allergy.
- Inhalant allergies are also reported as a contributing factor to EIA. Coming in contact with Penicillium mold, or any such allergen before any physical activity may result in EIA.
- Family background of EIA may increase the possibility of acquiring this type of allergic reaction.
Symptoms and Treatment for EIA
Warm, itchy and red skin, fatigue, swelling in the face, lips, eyes and throat, difficulty in breathing, lightheadedness, low blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chronic hives, etc., are some of the common anaphylaxis symptoms. As soon as these symptoms are observed, get emergency treatment before the conditions worsens. The treatment is similar to the treatments which are used in the other cases of anaphylaxis.
Epinephrine is one of the drugs which is injected to the patient immediately after the EIA is diagnosed. This drug gives immediate relief from the respiratory problems by relaxing the muscles of airways. It also contracts the blood vessels which normalizes the blood pressure. People who are susceptible to this type of allergic reaction need to keep these drugs close at hand all the time or should wear medical alert bracelets so as to avoid complications. Once this condition is stabilized, the doctor may advise other treatments on the basis of tests and results. The person is kept under observation for a few hours.
Exercise Induced Anaphylaxis Prevention
The best way to avoid such complications is to take proper precautions to stay away from the allergen especially when you are susceptible to it. Following are some of the precautions which you can take to avoid EIA.
- Stay away from food from which you are allergic.
- Do not eat food items which can trigger allergic reactions at least 12 hours before exercise or any rigorous physical activity.
- If you are not aware of the food items which induce allergy then avoid eating anything 6 to 7 hours prior to any physical activity.
- Avoid doing exercises in very extreme climates like extreme hot, humid or cold climate.
Exercise is the best way to keep your body and mind healthy. Hence do not stop exercising. Try to follow the precautionary measures and keep yourself healthy. If you are susceptible to getting allergic reactions then try to avoid doing rigorous physical activities. Wear full sleeved clothes and avoid wearing perfumes while going out in the garden so as to avoid insect stings. As soon as you observe any allergic reaction, contact the doctor immediately.