Do you ever itch during or after exercise? Do you get hives and welts after exercise?
Well, turns out one can be allergic to exercise. Welts are rashes triggered by food, medicine and other irritants. The papules are usually pruritus (severe itching due to some ailment).
The welts are usually not a problem, but the itching may cause some troubles. The itching can be so bad, the skin feels like it’s on fire.
Imagine a scenario of you stepping into an army of ants, only this time they unleash itching not pain.
Exercise induced Urticarial is a dumper to physical activities especially for those who feel a bit lazy.
What happens, basically, is that when your body heats up during exercise, your capillaries enlarge and the brain interprets this as an allergic reaction producing histamines.
To exercise or not
If you have not been working out as much lately, time yourself. Then increase 5 to 10 minutes each day. Certain exercises may induce urticarial, while some may not.
Exercises that involve splinting, running, walking or any movement that shakes the body really triggers the itchiness and welts. Pushups and squats may be a welcome respite if you feel the itchiness persisting.
Stop the exercise altogether if you experience difficulty in breathing, choking (hives on the throat) swelling on the face or hands, as this type is usually more severe and life threatening.
Ingestion of certain medicines, foods (especially wheat) before exercise can be a predisposing factor.
Urticaria, are characterized by pruritic plaques which change in size and may coalesce to form larger wheals.
Anaphylaxis is more life threatening characterized by respiratory distress and may or may not accompany vascular collapse.
Angioedema is characterized by thick firm plaques in the deeper layers of the skin and is more serious than Urticaria.
Urticartia, angioedema, anaphylaxis may occur separately or at the same time. It’s best to see a doctor who can diagnose and advise you on the triggers you need to avoid. He may put you on antihistamines or prescribe epinephrine for you, which is an injection you use as soon as the symptoms start.
If the hives are on noticeable places, wear clothes that can cover them and remember it gets better the more you exercise. The advice out there is that the hives disappear in an hour, tops. However, in my experience, they could last a day, or a whole weekend so be prepared.
You might want to carry cetrizine or hydrocortisone cream with you as to some people, activities like walking for long distances, or jogging can trigger allergic reactions.
By Sarah Ngima