Exercise Induced Anaphylaxis - Food Allergy
Allergic to Exercise?
Did you ever hear of a food allergy, then exercise, followed by an anaphylactic attack? It is called Exercise Induced Anaphylaxis. This condition is very rare and can be fatal. Anaphylaxis itself is defined as an acute allergic reaction to an antigen like a bee sting to which the body has become hypersensitive. An antigen can be a food.
To prevent the attack from becoming more serious, you must carry an Epi Pen with you, epi meaning epinephrine. This medicine, when injected at the beginning of symptoms can forestall an attack, but emergency room treatment usually follows the injection. If you have had attacks such as these, you must always carry the pen with you, instructing others to help you if you need the injection and cannot administer it. You will learn the story of a victim, symptoms, causes, prevention and treatment of the condition.
Nuts - Food Allergy
Victim's Story of Exercise Induced Anaphylaxia
Miss S., avid exerciser, suffered her first anaphylactic attack when she was a twenty year old college student. Her love of working out was the beginning of this patient’s disease. About an hour after eating peanut butter and doing a little exercising, she alerted her roommate when she had difficulty breathing and facial swelling. She raced Miss S to the nearest emergency room where the ER personnel immediately attended her, recognizing the reason for the crisis. After stabilizing her, the hospital admitted her for overnight observation, ensuring Miss S’s further care with a referral to.an allergy specialist .
Care in the hospital consists of intravenous antihistamines and sometimes cortisone to decrease inflammation in the air passages. Beta antagonists can also ease trouble breathing, according to Healthline.com "Killer Workouts", August 21, 2013.
Running and Allergies
Physician's Allergy Evaluation
Miss S visited Dr.Martha Tarpay who performed a thorough workup and observed her exercise. She diagnosed her illness as Exercise Induced Anaphylaxis with later confirmation that it was a food allergy prior to exercising. She tested her for foods and determined the culprits could be: peanuts, tuna, melon, bread, pizza, cheese and kiwi fruit. Her diagnosis was rare, and the physician determined this time it was from the nuts in peanut butter. She gave her a prescription for an Epi Pen to inject if another incident occurred and a follow up appointment, exhibiting concern for this patient with an unusual disease.
A Second Attack
The next attack happened six years later when she did not have her Epi Pen. After running two miles with a different roommate, Miss S. cried out in her bedroom with similar symptoms. The roommate and another person rushed her to the ER. During the ride, she passed out, and they carried her into the ER where personnel told them to take a seat. The roommate screamed at the nurse about the attack and passing out. A physician rushed to a trauma room to attend her. Once again, the doctor stabilized her and kept her overnight. She visited Dr. Tarpay again, and this time the food was pizza. The physician alarmed her by telling her she could no longer exercise until five hours passed after eating and to always carry the pen. After this incident, she had two mild allergy flare-ups and to date, no further incidents occurred
Attack Stopped for Bride
Do the Symptoms Ever Suddenly Stop?
Stories exist that show that symptoms can stop. Epinephrine is actually Adrenaline. A bride once had an attack come on, just as she was about to walk down the aisle. She composed herself as adrenaline kicked in, halting the progression, and she walked down the aisle.
Fortunately, statistics show the death rate from the disease in the United States to be quite low, probably due to patient knowledge and good care. Between 63 and 99 people die from this disease in a year. This is in spite of an increase in the disease over the past ten years, according to the American Association Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, December 13, 2013..
Symptoms and Prevention
The main symptoms are: breathing, wheezing, shortness of breath, congestion, pallor, low pulse, loss of consciousness. The main causes are allergies to latex, medicines, stings, and foods, such as nuts, shellfish, milk and eggs.
Stop exercising if you begin to have allergy symptoms. This includes other activities like raking leaves or walking in extreme temperatures.
Do not exercise until five hours after eating.
Carry your Epi Pen at all times
Instruct your family/friends how to assist with Epi Pen
Call 911 instead of going to ER by car. The ambulance tech can help you immediately.
Be aware of foods that cause symptoms.
Remain under physician’s care and have regular checkups.
Ensure your Epi Pen is refilled.
Exercise Induced Anaphylaxis is a dangerous disease and can cause fatalities. As you can see from this victim’s second attack, time is the element that makes the difference. Once you begin to lose consciousness, the danger increases. Calling 911 erases some of the time lost in getting to the Emergency room. Of primary importance in this allergy disorder is ensuring you have an Epi Pen and that you keep getting it refilled as needed. You should always exercise with a partner and avoid outside exercise, if possible, during allergy season.
A food allergy, followed by exercise, brings on this disease. If you wait several hours to exercise after eating, you will prevent further problems. Being aware of foods that cause problems and following doctor’s orders may save your life. Fatalities are rare, but you never want to take any chances. Miss S. walked at a festival in the heat, and symptoms began and stopped. That same occurrence happened to others. You can look at the photo in this article of the squirrel with nut and know that nuts are a major allergy trigger. You can see the photos of people exercising, and know that food and exercise mean danger for some people. Knowing the triggers can prevent further attacks. If you are educated about your disease, you stand a better chance of winning the battle in the long term. Do not be afraid. Take action.
This article is not meant to replace information from a physician. Audrey Selig has a background in Medical Social Work. References appear at end of hub. The girl called Miss S. agreed to an interview for this article.
Do you know anyone or do you have severe allergies?
- Exercise-Induced Anaphylaxis Explained
Claiming to be allergic to exercise isn’t necessarily an exaggeration. In combination with a few other factors, physical exertion can cause anaphylaxis.
- Anaphylaxis Definition - Diseases and Conditions - Mayo Clinic
Anaphylaxis — Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, risk factors and treatment of this dangerous allergic reaction.
American Association Allergy Asthma Immunology December 13, 2013