“When you haven’t done cardio in a while and you get that runners itch,” he wrote in his post.
Several of his viewers felt the exact same itch when they ran, and were happy to have a name for this syndrome.
“Oh…so I’m not crazy….,” replied @tee_tee0703.
“I thought I was allergic to cardio,” commented @dbonafide1.
While many TikTokers seemed relieved to know that other people experienced this phenomenon, Dr. Rubin (@rubin_allergy), an allergist, tried to go one step further to explain — especially to new and returning runners —why this happens.
“What’s happening is that as you’re exercising, your heart is beating faster to get oxygen to tissues throughout your body,” he says. “There’s these little tiny blood vessels called capillaries that will expand to accommodate that new blood flow and that may bump into nearby nerve endings, causing that kind of prickly sensation.”
For some viewers, this explanation cleared up some of their questions about what happens to their body when they exercise.
“You mean we’re not allergic to exercise?” replied @staceycakes73.
Rubin explained that for some people, that might actually be the case.
“If you get a rash with this itch that looks like little tiny bumps,…you may have something called cholinergic urticaria,” he says. “That’s a type of hives that occur when body temperature is elevated.”
In order to treat this condition, as well as milder runner’s itch symptoms, Rubin recommends antihistamines, as well as topical steroids and warm baths.
On top of the remedies that Rubin advised, there are other solutions people can try at home.
According to Healthline, adding oatmeal, epsom salts or baking soda to the warm bath, as well as rubbing aloe vera gel on the irritated area, can be helpful. Also, wearing compression socks and elevating the legs for 15 minutes is an option. The pressure the socks put on the legs helps improve blood flow and keep muscles relaxed.
Rubin also says that if the symptoms elevate passed simply itching and are coupled with breathing issues, then the issue could be exercise-induced anaphylaxis — which would require the person to consult with their doctor to receive treatment.
“I generally don’t consider runner’s itch an allergy, I do consider cholinergic urticaria and exercise-induced anaphylaxis an allergy to exercise that some people may have.”
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