Yes, It’s Possible To Be Allergic To Exercise
Long Story Short
It sounds like an excuse, but some people are actually allergic to exercise.
You might’ve half-jokingly whined that you’re allergic to the gym on a morning after a heavy night of drinking, but you should probably stop making that excuse because an allergy to exercise is not only real, it’s potentially deadly.
Take the situation of Joe O’Leary, for instance. He went out for dinner and had pizza with his mom. Normal. Afterward, he hit the elliptical at the gym and about 30 minutes later, he found himself in a horrific situation going through anaphylaxis.
Here’s what O’Leary told Popular Science:
“My eyes were watering, I was having trouble breathing. In another five minutes, I was struggling to breathe. I looked behind me into the mirror, and my eyes were swollen—every part of my face was swollen.”
O’Leary was rushed to hospital where doctors diagnosed him with an exercise-induced allergy, a diagnosis first discovered in 1979. Today, the allergy affects an estimated 50 out of 100,000 people, but doctors don’t know precisely what’s going on.
The guess is that it’s some sort of reaction between a food you’re sensitive to (knowingly or not) and exercise. It’s hard to say as doctors haven’t been able to come up with any conclusive studies in a lab.
There’s no real way to prevent this allergy from happening, except for maybe not eating before you work out. But if you’re diagnosed and carry around an EpiPen, that’ll help keep the anaphylaxis in check before you’re rushed to hospital.
Own The Conversation
Ask The Big Question
Would anyone believe you if you made this excuse?
Drop This Fact
Peanuts are the most common allergy in the United States. Milk is second and shellfish is third.