When I first heard of exercise induced anaphylaxis I thought that it was more common than it is. I thought I could have it if I exercised, or if I exercised close to my meal times. So I thought for the last day of Anaphylaxis awareness week I would post about it. I have never been diagnosed with it but it is always good to have more information, we can never stop learning, especially when it comes to life and death.
Like I mentioned before this condition is uncommon, but like anaphylaxis, it is very serious if somebody has it. It is when a person goes into anaphylactic shock during or after they perform physical activity. The symptoms include anywhere from mild to severe anaphylaxis:
swelling of lips/skin/tongue
A person who is suffering from this condition could become weak and may faint with a fall in blood pressure due to anaphylactic shock. What I found interesting is how many different kind of exercise induced anaphylaxis there are.
Anaphylaxis during/after exercise
Food-dependent (FDEIA) - When a particular food is ingested before exercise, which can be tolerated without exercise (it is called a "trigger” food). If you have a history of this condition, never exercise alone, carry an auto-injector and wear something that informs people of this condition.
Exercise and exposure to cold - This condition is not triggered by food, but by a combo of the cold and strenuous exercise. (Extremely rare)
Cereal mites with exercise - An ingestion of mites and exercise caused individuals to go into anaphylactic shock whilst exercising. (Extremely rare)
Lipid-transfer protein dependent (LTP) - These lipids are found in foods that come from plants. It is an allergy that affects those who have sensitised to LTPS. They could react to one or more of different types of vegetables, fruits, nuts, cereals etc. The reactions occur with the additional factor of exercise.
Exercise induced anaphylaxis is referred to as a co-factor condition. Co-factor enhanced food allergy. There are quite a lot of co- factors that have been discovered (read more in the references I have given below). Food-dependant, exercise induced anaphylaxis was the first one they identified and it is the most common out of the co-factors. This condition is complex and you will need a diagnosis from doctor/expert in this field to be given the right treatment and advice.
Make sure, if you have anaphylaxis, to carry 2 auto-injectors everywhere you go (make sure they are in date). Anaphylaxis can happen rapidly or delayed so it is imperative that you carry it with you at all times. Remember: EPI FIRST, EPI FAST, it must be administered the second you feel a severe reaction occurring, then followed by a hospital trip, even if you start to feel better.
Exercise induced anaphylaxis is still very new to the allergy world. As it is uncommon there are still so many questions that need answering. However, if you do have an attack during exercise, make sure you stop, rest and use your auto-injector when you feel a severe reaction. Make sure you are informed about what is known about this condition, and talk to people who are managing it as well.
Eimear aka The Allergy Act on instagram, who I have mentioned before as she is the one who teamed up with the Anaphylaxis Campaign to bring us The Great Virtual Bake Off. Eimear has exercise induced anaphylaxis. I found out when she was doing a Live Instagram with Thalina from Allergies in Bold (who also experiences this condition) and I thought i would be helpful if Eimear could say something about how she handles it.
“EXERCISE INDUCED REACTIONS, LIKE FOOD ALLERGIES, CAN BE CONTROLLED WITH TIME. IT’S ABOUT FINDING THE TRIGGER FACTOR (FOOD, ENVIRONMENT, MEDICATION, CLIMATE) AND LEARNING TO ADAPT YOUR LIFESTYLE FOR YOU SAFETY. IT DOESN’T MEAN ABANDON ALL EXERCISE, YOU CAN FIND A NEW WAY TO EXERCISE THAT SUITS, HAVING TAKEN NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS BEFORE AND AFTER EXERCISE; SIMILAR TO THE PRECAUTIONS YOU TAKE WITH FOOD ALLERGIES.”
I still want to raise awareness for anaphylaxis and allergies (as it is still food allergy awareness moth) so this week I will be running a Marathon in my home. I will run 3.7miles/6km each day and I will donate money at the end of the week (like I did this week). I hope to bring awareness to exercise induced anaphylaxis. #exerciseathome
I have successfully completed running 26.2miles inside my flat in London. At the beginning of the week I was highly motivated and it felt like I was running for a purpose. On Tuesday I had a burst of flow state, where ideas were coming to me and I had to write them down (benefits of running in your home). When Wednesday hit, I really started feeling the fatigue and muscle aches from the previous days. The motivation was dwindling and the only thing that kept me going was sheer will. After that day I was flying. Things started becoming mundane, I could focus on what I was listening too without the negative thoughts I have about running. On Saturday I got emotional. I felt like I was floating on air and all the weight of the world was fell off and I cried. It was incredible. Sunday (day 7) it felt easy, I didn’t think about the time and I was just running for fun (FOR FUN - who am I?).
So all in all it was such a positive experience for me but also to spread awareness, not just on The Allergy Table, but in real life. Sometimes we forget that we are speaking about allergies to people who understand and can relate (which is incredible, I have longed for that my whole life) but not a lot will change if we preach to the converted. We need to be speaking about the gravity of these conditions to people who have never experienced them before so that they can pass it on as well!
I hope I have inspired you to donate or if not to get moving. Some of us take our physical body for granted and don’t understand what it could be like if your body does attack you, when you eat, exercise, get sick, etc. Don’t wait for an ailment to make you appreciate all that your body does for you.
Tips & tricks I learned this week:
Running back and forth really help your mind to be clear.
If you are running with a playlist, make sure you enjoy every song.
Listening to podcasts is a great way to distract yourself - also watching youtube videos
Get a pen & paper next to your running path - you never know what ideas might come up
Set a timer so you are not always looking at your watch
If you live with people, tell them when you will be doing it so there is no awkward run ins, disturbing your flow.
REST & RECOVER - make sure you are doing stretches after and putting your feet up.
Have fun! Exercise gives you endorphins.
I actually ran today for 30 minutes and I loved it. I never thought I say this but I like running (but only in my house)!