Lots of us joke about feeling like we’re allergic to exercise.

After all, making a steadfast commitment to workout, whether at home, at the gym, or anywhere else, is difficult.

Plus, when you first start on your fitness journey, everything is so exhausting and makes you want to quit right away.

But exercise is really good for you!

It helps weight loss and maintenance, while also providing benefits to your mental health, energy, disease risk, bone density, and much more.

So there’s no reason for anyone to avoid exercise, right?

No one can truly be allergic to exercise, right?

As a matter of fact, exercise allergies are a real condition.

It’s called exercise-induced anaphylaxis, or EIA for short.

It’s very rare, affecting just 2% of people living in the West.

It’s definitely surprising, but when you consider the fact that there are people who are allergic to pollen, water, and even their own saliva, it’s not surprising that EIA exists.

Those who deal with EIA experience symptoms such as swelling, itchiness, and breathing difficulties as their body enters anaphylactic shock.

Essentially, allergy cells within our bodies, when exposed to what they are allergic to, will release components called histamines.

These histamines work to try and get rid of allergens, but in turn, they cause inflammation, itching, respiratory trouble, and even nausea.

Why Does EIA Occur?

The fact is that exercise allergies don’t occur through exercise alone.

The allergic response is a result of the consumption of certain foods, followed by working out.

It doesn’t sound very severe at all, but mixing the wrong meals with a workout can be deadly in those with EIA.

Those with EIA can eat any foods they like at any time, as long as they don’t exercise after them.

The foods don’t cause a reaction – it’s the mix of those consumables and exercise done close together.

A case of EIA was featured by Popular Science.

The case revolved around a man who had eaten a delicious pizza with peppers and tomatoes as ingredients, then gone on an elliptical machine shortly after.

Within 30 minutes, he had to be rushed to the hospital due to anaphylactic shock.

What’s very concerning about EIA is that they can happen with absolutely any type of food or drink, so if you suspect that you have EIA, you’d have to see an allergist to affirmatively rule out safe foods and determine dangerous ones.

But EIA doesn’t just happen with food…

EIA is any allergic reaction induced by exercise and a combination of something else.

As such, some people experience EIA with other items or conditions.

Some have an EIA reaction from medications.

Others have EIA when menstruating, so they can’t exercise at all when they’re on their period.

This can be a very concerning and nerve-wracking thing to think about.

Luckily, EIA is extremely rare, and only 50 people in every 100,000 will experience this condition.

Unfortunately, this means you can’t use this as an excuse to skip the gym – but fortunately, it means you likely won’t have EIA!