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How is workout related rhinitis prevented ?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2003
Answered : 336 Questions
Help - I have been lifting weights 5 days per week, and doing cardio, for almost 20 years. I am 43 and fit. I usually get bronchitis once per year. I generally don't train legs very heavy because of a rupture / DDD at the L5/S1 level. Over the last year I have started hitting the legs a lot heavier and when I do, the next day I come down with a sore throat and other cold-like symptoms, uncontrollable sneezing, runny nose, cough coming from the chest - but not too XXXXXXX in the chest like bronchitis, stuffy head, body aches. I basically get a bad cold and my whole body aches. This takes about three days to clear up. The symptoms are so bad that no OTC cold or allergy medicine is able to control the symptoms. I take lots of supplements, protein powder, glutamine, creatine, luceine, all sorts of vitamins and minerals including 3g of C and 3g of D and 800IU E as well as echinacea and all sorts of other stuff, fish oil, ALA, vitamin B. I also take several tablespoons of raw honey daily and eat healthy home cooked food, low carbs, and get 7 hours sleep night. Recent bloodwork at my annual physical came back all normal. Yes i am under stress. But this sickness only happens when i train legs HEAVY.
My guess is my cortisole levels are spiking or i am overtaxing the CNS - this is just a guess. Two questions - 1) is there a deeper medical problem here that needs to be addressed? 2) what can i possibly do to control these symptoms so I don't miss 2-3 days of work every time I do a heavy leg training day? Thanks.
Posted Sat, 5 May 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Deepak Anvekar 1 hour later

Thanks for the query.

From the description of your symptoms it seems that you might be having exercise-induced rhinitis.

Working out harder specially those of the lower limbs cause more work on the heart, which can trigger allergic reaction symptoms such as congestion, sinus pain, runny nose, headaches, etc.

Exercise itself can be the sole trigger (especially vigorous exercise), but sometimes it's the combination of exercise plus another trigger such as pollen or cold weather that produces symptoms.

You might benefit by use of an Over the counter antihistamine like Clarytin to reduce your symptoms.

In case you have already tried antihistamines (including clarytin), you might consult your doctor for a Prescription of a intranasal steroid spray which might help to relieve or prevent your symptoms.

I don't feel that this is a major problem but it is important to address the problem and to rule out the exact cause.

I hope this helps to answer your questions. Please feel free to consult me for any doubts or other medical questions.


Dr. Anvekar.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: How is workout related rhinitis prevented ? 1 hour later
I am not so sure this is what I have.

Exercise induced rhinitis takes place during exercise. My symptoms begin one to two days later and lasts three days. Including terrible body aches.
Answered by Dr. Deepak Anvekar 22 minutes later
Hello and thanks for the follow up.

There is a difference between exercise induced asthma and exercise induced rhinitis.
Asthma occurs immediately with exercise and it requires the individual to stop working out.

Rhinitis can present even after hours after the workout session and does not necessitate stopping the workouts.

I hope you do not bother to give me further information, I would like to know a few additional details.

1. How often do you workout . Once or twice a week ?

2. Have you tried the medications that I have suggested ?

3. Have you ever worked out on a day, when you had such symptoms ?

4. Do you stop working out , once the symptoms begin ?

5. Do you have wheezing, or any other forms of allergy ?

I feel that there is no underlying problem within you for two important reasons.

1) When your blood test show normal
2) You are able to work out heavily without any trouble breathing and discomfort during exercise and immediate post exercise period.

The reason for cold, runny nose, body aches have other reasons which I may substantiate if you reply to my above queries.

Awaiting your response.

Dr Anvekar.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: How is workout related rhinitis prevented ? 5 hours later
Honestly Doctor, virtually all of your questions I previously answered in my original post. It appears you did not fully read my history.

Thanks for you time.
Answered by Dr. Deepak Anvekar 6 hours later
Hello ,
Thanks for the follow up.

The entire history given by you, indicates that you work out for 5 days a week, But the question I had asked for is how many times you work out your limbs in a week.

I wish to know, if you work out 5 days a week, how come you get symptoms a few days after workout.

In case you have not tried the steroid spray, I will suggest you try one, after consulting a doctor.

Wishing you good health.


Dr Anvekar.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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