You are frustrated by an annoying irritating rash that just does not seem to go away. It’s red and may increase in size or redden when your work out and continues to itch all through the day. Initially, you thought that the rash might have been caused due to new clothes or exercise friction but now you’re starting to get worried. Could this be the sign of something dangerous? Could the rash and exercising be related?
There can be many reasons for rashes that appear after, before or during a workout. There are a number of common causes for rashes in relation to various forms of exercise activity. One are we’ll discuss is how sometimes runners will get itching if they are new to this form of exercise and why.
• Sometimes friction between new clothes and the body or new detergents and perfumes may also cause rashes that subside when the irritating agent is removed. Doctors may also prescribe oatmeal baths and antihistamines to soothe the irritation.
• Exercise itches are common in runners who have started working out for the first time. The sudden workout means that millions of cells suddenly require more food and oxygen. Tiny capillaries have to expand suddenly to deal with the demand and this may irritate cells in the body resulting in the itching sensation. However, this reaction subsides as the patient increases his or her fitness level.
• Fungal infections are also irritated by the heat and sweat of a workout. However, fungal infections can be treated with a simple antifungal cream or lotion.
• Most are simple heat rashes that appear due to the heat generated between the body and clothes while working out. Excessive body temperature may cause the body sweat glands to work harder producing more sweat. This excess sweat clogs the thin ducts resulting in blocked pores. When the body starts cooling of, heat rashes usually subside and go down too.
• A parasite infection like scabies may also cause intense itching and rashes. Scabies is contagious and it is possible that you may have picked it up at a gym or a swimming pool. Make sure that you use the medication or lotion that is provided to kill the parasite.
• A more serious rash that occurs is known as the cholinergic urticaria which can effectively be described as an allergic reaction to exercise. Ordinarily in a healthy person, the hypothalamus in the brain is responsible for understanding body temperature and regulating it. During exercise, the hypothalamus also controls breathing and heart rate. However, in a select few patients, the hypothalamus considers a workout as an adverse reaction. As soon as the body starts working harder, the hypothalamus considers it dangerous and then dumps acetylcholine, a brain chemical into blood.
This triggers the release of histamines from mast cells which is effectively the start of an allergic reaction. Cholinergic urticaria is not very common and it sounds very silly but it is extremely dangerous conditions. Patients may have to stop exercising immediately and may have to use anti-allergic medication or carry an adrenalin pen in case of sudden exertion.
Control Of Rashes
You can avoid rashes by washed cotton clothing during workouts and working out indoors as much as possible. If you are working out at a gym, wipe down the equipment with an antibacterial wipe or liquid. Take a shower immediately after your workout too to soothe and cool your body. You can also switch over to meditation based workouts like yoga or which help in weight but which do not unduly exert the body. No matter what the reason for the rash, we suggest that you get a complete medical check up done to diagnose the condition. Rashes that last for more than a day and which appear regularly have to be evaluated by a doctor.