How to Deal with Rashes from Exercise

Woman scratching at a sweat rash How to Deal with Rashes from Exercise

Have you noticed a flare-up of a skin rash during or after your exercise routine? Have you gotten exercise induced hives? What should you do when you find rashes on your body related to physical activity? Read on to find out what the most common exercise related skin rashes are and how you can get the treatment you need.

What to Know About Exercise Rashes

Why Do Skin Rashes Appear?

Skin rashes are a condition on the skin that affect most people at one point or another. Whether from exposure to allergens like chemicals or pet dander, contact with a plant like poison oak or poison ivy, or infection with a virus or fungus, rashes on the body are fairly common.

But what about when the reaction isn’t due to an exposure to soap or detergent, but simply from physical activity? Believe it or not, many people experience skin rashes from exercise. Dermatologists see this condition quite often in their practices.

Exercise Induced Hives

One of the more common rashes reported is exercise induced hives, also known as urticaria. These red, raised welts can show up as large bumps or may look more like blisters or blotches. They’re usually, but not always, itchy. Occasionally, these hives are accompanied by other symptoms like cramps, headache, or anaphylaxis (trouble breathing or closing of the throat.)

Exercise induced hives might appear during or after exercise, and the exact cause of this type of skin rash is unknown. Taking an over-the-counter antihistamine before exercising is often the best way to prevent a flare-up.

If the hives are serious, including being accompanied by anaphylaxis, you may need to carry an EpiPen during exercise. This medication comes in the form of a shot that is easily administered by yourself or someone else and contains a medication called epinephrine. Other prescription medications to manage exercise induced hives might be prescribed by your doctor, so be sure to get an examination if you’re suffering from this skin rash.

Heat Rash

While heat rash is most common in warmer spring or summer months, it can appear in any season and with any weather. Heat rash, commonly called prickly heat, appears as tiny red bumps that often itch or burn. Heat rash occurs when sweat glands become blocked, resulting in inflammation as the sweat is unable to make it to the skin’s surface.

If you frequently suffer from heat rash, wear loose fitting clothing when you exercise and immediately change out of clothes afterward. If possible, avoid hot and humid environments and opt to work out in an air conditioned gym.

Other Treatment Options

One suggestion dermatologists and allergists often make for those dealing with skin rashes is to start tracking any foods eaten prior to exercising. This can help you to identify any patterns, and if you find that a certain food is problematic, you can opt to stop eating that food. Other times, doctors might recommend that you don’t exercise for at least 4 hours after eating.

Contact Vanguard Dermatology

If you’re in the greater New York City area and suffering from a skin rash of any kind, contact Vanguard Dermatology today for a consultation. Our board-certified specialists can help identify the cause of the rash and talk through your treatment options.

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