Food Allergies at the Gym

 

I feel like every allergic individual is extremely cautious in every food situation as you want to avoid coming into contact with your allergen, but I believe that we need to be just as cautious in non-food related situations. I’m a gym-fanatic and I find myself most cautious and anxious about my food allergies in the gym or when I am doing some type of physical activity. Yes, you’re not typically ingesting any food at the gym, but that doesn’t mean that you are completely safe from having an allergic reaction.

I’ve suffered two severe anaphylactic reactions when I was doing physical activity. The first reaction was while I was running outside; the second was while I was at the gym. Both times I had not ingested food immediately prior to working out.

Shaped and healthy body man holding a walnuts, isolated on white background

The allergic reactions I experienced at the gym really opened my eyes. It was the first time where I had an allergic reaction in a situation where I was not ingesting any food, and had not for some time. My allergist once told me that no matter how prepared you are or how cautious you are at avoiding your allergen, accidents can still happen and that’s not your fault.  You can’t blame yourself or be fearful of things that are out of your control. Being prepared and taking precautionary measures that ensure you are not putting yourself at-risk when performing any kind of physical activity are the best things you can do to avoid accidental exposure. Think about these tips before working out:

  • Do I have my EpiPens® on me?
  • If I’m going to be alone, do I have a phone on me?
  • Does someone know where I’m going/approximately how long I’m going to be?
  • When was the last time I ate?
  • Did I accidentally eat something that said the words MAY CONTAIN… today?

If I say no to any of these tips, I simply do not workout and cannot work out until I can say yes to all of them.

Young beautiful woman at gym

Also, whenever I do go to the gym, I make sure I stick to the following rules:

  • Wash down every machine before AND after I use it – you honestly don’t know what the person before you touched.
  • Take frequent breaks to catch my breath and lower my heart rate – this way you’re able to make sure your body is recovering normally.
  • DON’T TOUCH MY FACE
  • Wash my hands (or shower if I’m smelly) after my work out!

Your workouts do not have to be affected by allergies, it just means that you need to be a little more cautious and aware when in these situations.

– Giulia C.

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One thought on “Food Allergies at the Gym”

  1. The shift I had to make for myself was that EVERY situation is a food situation. Delayed reactions happen. People eating in all sorts of social situations happens. People don’t wash their hands frequently at all… So unless you live in an allergen-free house where you grow all your own food, never leave, and never accept visitors… If you have a serious food allergy you should have your epi on you. Within reach, on your person. I learned that the hard way once as I was going to bed (after a mild reaction had seemingly settled with Benadryl) and started suddenly getting worse. I couldn’t breathe much and was coughing so hard I couldn’t turn around to grab the epi in a drawer 1ft from my back, or walk the 3m to the epi hung up by my door. Thank goodness for housemates who heard, found my epi, and gave it to me. We have an extra epi installed on the wall now, so that next time the housemates won’t even have to look around at all.

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