Allergy, asthma triggers lurk at the gym

Dec. 30, 2010 at 10:34 PM
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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill., Dec. 30 (UPI) -- The local gym may contain a number of allergy and asthma triggers, a U.S. doctor warns.

Dr. Myron Zitt, past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, suggests those with allergies to consult with an allergist who can advise on whether to try swimming in fresh or salt water or opt for the treadmill.

"Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for most people, particularly those with asthma" Zitt says in a statement. "Sometimes, though, heavily chlorinated water can trigger symptoms from irritation -- itchy red eyes or a rash -- to trouble breathing."

Zitt and his colleagues at the college say other gym triggers may include:

-- Yoga mats made of latex. If allergic, get a mat that is latex-free and take it to the gym.

-- Energy bars and protein shakes exercisers like to eat can contain nuts, wheat, egg, soy or milk. Carefully read the ingredients.

-- The disinfectant used on equipment can contain problematic chemicals or volatile organic compounds. These could cause sneezing or wheezing.

-- Exercise clothes made of polyester and nylon may keep sweat off of the skin, but can cause itching in those sensitive to synthetics. Check labels. Lycra/spandex which gives clothes that comfy stretch may be less likely to irritate.

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