Mind & Body
Off Your Game?
8/28/2018 12:04:44 PM
Off Your Game

If you’ve never been able to figure out why your athletic performance suffers during certain seasons, you may be relieved to learn that it may not be you; it might be your allergies.

Allergies are increasing in prevalence, especially among youth. So much so, that many people are discouraged from participating in sports because they can’t seem to get their breathing to cooperate and write it off as being too difficult. The inhalation or contact with any allergens leads the body to produce and release histamine, causing an athlete’s performance to be all over the place. If they happen to be running during a flare up, they will simply be unable to push as hard as they typically could. 

"Athletes at any age feel the effects of allergy symptoms in every aspect of sports,” Dr. Brad LeBert, ENT and allergy specialist with the ENT and Allergy Clinic, an affiliate of Imperial Health, explains. "Allergy symptoms such as watery and itchy eyes can interfere with vision, and sneezing, headaches and sinus pressure can interfere with concentration. Peripheral factors, like poor sleep quality, anxiety, and increased fatigue are other side effects of allergies that can impact athletic performance.”

What are triggers that can sideline even the toughest competitors? Pollen, dust and dander are some of the most common, and they’re all airborne. Athletes tend to use more air as they push their physical limits, and all of that extra air means extra allergens. The result? Nasal inflammation, rhinitis, and rhinoconjuctivitis—the medical terms for a stuffy and itchy nose. 

"Nasal congestion is particularly problematic for endurance athletes because the nose functions to remove some allergens and irritants from the air, while warming and humidifying it as well,” Dr. LeBert says. "The cooler, drier, and more irritant-rich air can cause the airways in your throat to become inflamed. Additionally, the post-nasal drip of mucus down the back of your throat can irritate the airways as well.”

When it comes to allergies, there are a variety of treatment options, explains Dr. LeBert. Over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines can provide a quick, but temporary, relief of allergy symptoms. Some of these medications must be taken as frequently as every four hours, and may cause side effects, such as drowsiness. Another option is allergy shots over a duration of time that aims to reduce the effects of allergies and eliminate triggers. 

"Overall, prompt treatment of allergies will help to improve every aspect of an athlete’s play and game – from the stamina to participate in full practice sessions and games, to the ability to run at top speed,” says Dr. LeBert. "You don’t have to be benched by the pollen count. Armed with a little knowledge and a proper treatment plan, you can get back up to full performance levels by controlling your allergies.” 

Call the ENT and Allergy Clinic at (337) 312-8681 to schedule an evaluation, or visit www.entandallergyclinic.net, if you are experiencing symptoms that may be caused by allergies.
Posted by: Haley Armand Tarasiewicz | Submit comment | Tell a friend

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