Exercise Allergy

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Old 02-27-2011, 10:57 PM
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Default Exercise Allergy

Okay don't laugh. I really believe I have some kind of allergy to exercising, specifically cardio. This might get a little long, so please try to stay with me here.

This is actually something I've been experiencing for a few years now, and actually quit playing Dance Dance Revolution because this started happening (something I partially attribute to me putting all this weight back on). I used to play all the time. I've started playing again because I need exercise and it's great interval cardio training. Plus it's just plain fun.

But here's what happens... after playing for several minutes, and starting to break sweat, I begin to get very, very, itchy all over my body. It's noticeably worse around the sides of my torso and on my thighs, but can also extend down my shins and even forearms. I try to play through it, but it just keeps getting worse until I stop. Once I do stop and cool down, the itching subsides. It makes it hard to get a good workout in.

All this happens whether it's DDR, or just running on a treadmill. I also have panic/anxiety disorder that tends to hover on health issues, so I usually freak out with any kind of scary symptom.

Does anyone have any advice and/or confirmation that an exercise allergy can actually exist? Maybe it's more of a sweat allergy or something?
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Old 02-28-2011, 01:16 AM
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It could be something you're eating that becomes a component of your sweat. Have you had an allergy test or done an elimination diet? You might want to take a daily dose of antihistimen and see if that doesn't help. Another thing you might try is putting a fan on yourself while working out. Swimming can also be a good way to exercise without the sweat issue. Also it could be that 338 pounds is enough insulation that you are overheating more quickly than you will at a lower weight. Before I started dieting I hardly needed a coat during the winter and I didn't own a single long sleeved shirt.

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Old 02-28-2011, 01:36 AM
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I have anxiety also! So I feel you where you feel like everything is something! But for the itch maybe alkeemer is right? What are you wearing? sometimes cotton isn't enough, are you wearing something that takes away the moisture (I can't think of the word), but that's what I have been reading is that's the kind of clothes that you will need or you will get rashes and little red bumps and such. Just a thought. I hope that you find the issue! Good luck!
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Old 02-28-2011, 03:19 AM
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Originally Posted by almeeker View Post
It could be something you're eating that becomes a component of your sweat. Have you had an allergy test or done an elimination diet? You might want to take a daily dose of antihistimen and see if that doesn't help. Another thing you might try is putting a fan on yourself while working out. Swimming can also be a good way to exercise without the sweat issue. Also it could be that 338 pounds is enough insulation that you are overheating more quickly than you will at a lower weight. Before I started dieting I hardly needed a coat during the winter and I didn't own a single long sleeved shirt.
Well I started experiencing this a few years ago, when I was still just around 240 pounds, so I'm not sure my weight has much to do with it. I guess it could be a food allergy of some kind, but wouldn't that produce other symptoms? I'm really not a swimmer, as I hate the water (bit a drowning phobia). I'm also not really supposed to take any antihistamines because of a possible interaction with my meds. Depending on the antihistamine, it can cause potentially fatal heart rhythms.
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Old 02-28-2011, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by VirusInside View Post
Okay don't laugh. I really believe I have some kind of allergy to exercising, specifically cardio. This might get a little long, so please try to stay with me here.

This is actually something I've been experiencing for a few years now, and actually quit playing Dance Dance Revolution because this started happening (something I partially attribute to me putting all this weight back on). I used to play all the time. I've started playing again because I need exercise and it's great interval cardio training. Plus it's just plain fun.

But here's what happens... after playing for several minutes, and starting to break sweat, I begin to get very, very, itchy all over my body. It's noticeably worse around the sides of my torso and on my thighs, but can also extend down my shins and even forearms. I try to play through it, but it just keeps getting worse until I stop. Once I do stop and cool down, the itching subsides. It makes it hard to get a good workout in.

All this happens whether it's DDR, or just running on a treadmill. I also have panic/anxiety disorder that tends to hover on health issues, so I usually freak out with any kind of scary symptom.

Does anyone have any advice and/or confirmation that an exercise allergy can actually exist? Maybe it's more of a sweat allergy or something?
Ok, so please don't take this as medical advice, since I am not any sort of medical professional, BUT I also get the itchies from exercising and have been told before this is hives brought on by a combination of exertion, and not enough sweating. It's not something that will really hurt you, it is more bothersome than anything. The one thing I have noticed for me at least, as that the more fit I am getting (still not a fitness expert here) the less I have this, it's kindof a reaction to being out of shape (like heavy breathing, instead of breathing through and with your exercise). One thing that may help you if you are really bothered by the itching during your workout is to keep a spritzer bottle to spray yourself just enough to cool yourself a bit. And always make sure you drink drink drink your water.
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Old 02-28-2011, 02:49 PM
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Hi there!

Sorry to hear about your itching, that sounds really annoying.

I'm by no means a medical professional; not an MD, or a nurse, or anything like that (I'm the OTHER sort of doctor). I started poking around some websites. Here are the ones I found that might be useful:

Itching During Exercise

1) Did you have the itching before you started any current medications? Sometimes itching can be caused by your medications reacting with your skin.

2) Cholinergic urticaria -- Exercise Allergy and Itchy Leg Syndrome - Sensitive Subjects for Walkers -- seems to be triggered by any rise in body temperature. Do you also itch in saunas, hot tubs, hot rooms, etc. (i.e. -- any time you get hot?). Antihistamines on the skin (but not ingested) can help.

3) Try switching to 100% cotton? It may be a reaction to the sweat on your clothing.

I guess the major points are these -- if you get itchiness WITH a rash, it might be something like urticaria. If it's itchiness WITHOUT a rash, it might be a reaction either to your clothing or some kind of interaction due to sweat/meds getting on your skin.

Exercise-induced anaphylaxis CAN happen, but usually it's because exercise is exacerbating another allergy. I'd really really recommend asking your doctor about it. Exercise allergies are real, and they have numerous causes, some more serious than others
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Old 02-28-2011, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by VirusInside View Post
I guess it could be a food allergy of some kind, but wouldn't that produce other symptoms? I'm really not a swimmer, as I hate the water (bit a drowning phobia). I'm also not really supposed to take any antihistamines because of a possible interaction with my meds. Depending on the antihistamine, it can cause potentially fatal heart rhythms.
Not necessarily, allergic reactions vary and not just from person to person. I have food allergies myself and the reactions I get from the same foods vary from mild hives to vomiting. I agree with tauble, discuss this with your doctor, there might be something you can add to your med regimen for this problem that's compatible with your other meds, and then again maybe not. I take a med called Xyzal which is similar to Zyrtec, but without the side effects. It's great stuff.

As for the water phobia, maybe it's time to tackle that demon and learn to swim? Around here they have beginner classes for adults which are fantastic, it really is never too late to learn. If not maybe you can get private lessons, or just take water aerobics, which is usually done in the shallow end of the pool.
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Old 02-28-2011, 07:02 PM
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Thanks everyone for all your help and encouragement. It doesn't seem to be dangerous (I've had it for years now with nothing bad happening), so I guess it's just more annoying than anything. I'll try to heed all your advice.

Thanks for listening.
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