I was talking with a friend recently, who shared an interesting article he read regarding exercise-induced anaphylaxis. A man had a history of food allergies and was extremely careful not to eat certain foods. He had never experienced an anaphylaxis reaction until the day he combined his “jog” through the park the same day as his family reunion.

He was half-way through the mapped out jog when he started to feel nauseous. He had trouble breathing, developed hives and thought he was going to pass-out. Because of his food allergy history, he used his epi-pen which he always carries and was able to reverse the symptoms. He had his wife call the allergist and they went to the emergency room.

The man knew what an anaphylaxis reaction was and he knew that it could affect his whole body. It can happen quickly and it can lead to life-threatening complications. But what he didn’t understand was why it happened. He did not eat anything that was on his list.

Then he learned that exercise-induced anaphylaxis is a fairly rare condition which can cause hives, fainting, vomiting and difficulty breathing during a workout. He also learned that other factors such as weather conditions, medications and even foods he was not allergic to could act as triggers. He was told in his case it was the cream cheese filled celery he ate before the jog through the park.

Exercise-induced anaphylaxis is a rare disorder in which anaphylaxis occurs when the individual exercises right after eating certain foods. The symptoms can include severe itching, hives, flushing, wheezing. Some people may also experience some GI involvement: nausea, abdominal cramping and diarrhea.

The man’s allergist explained that as he starts to jog his heart rate speeds up. This causes the blood to move through his body much faster than normal. Every time his blood passed through his stomach, it picked up more celery pieces. Normally the celery wouldn’t have bothered him but the combination of jog and celery triggered exercise-induced anaphylaxis. The extra celery in his blood caused an allergic reaction.

The article explained that only 1,000 cases of exercise-induced anaphylaxis have been documented since the 1970s. There has been one death. The recommendation is to wait a couple hours after eating to exercise and to always include a slow warm-up and cool-down.

Has anyone else experienced this or something similar? Let’s hear your story!