A nasal allergy occurs when an airborne substance pollen, dust mites enters the nose and stimulates the production of antibodies and the release of the chemical histamine. Histamine causes inflammation, swelling, and increased fluid in the nose, leading to symptoms such as sinus headache, plugged ears, postnasal drip, and itchy eyes. In contrast, the common cold often results in a fever, sore throat, thick nasal discharge, aches, and chills.
It is widely recognized that people who suffer from bronchial asthma, exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, or nasal allergies experience difficulties in air-polluted environments. This should not be surprising because the negative effects that NO, SO, O, fine particulates, and aerosols see above have on the respiratory system are similar or identical to the symptoms of bronchial asthma and nasal allergy. Tablepresents the conclusions of ten research publications on the effects of air pollutants on persons with asthma. This table is summarized by the following statement: asthmatics experience a greater number and severity of symptoms of respiratory discomfort at lower pollutant concentrations than nonasthmatics.
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The previous section of this chapter ended with the statement that no evidence verifies the existence of additive or synergistic pollutant interactions in healthy humans table However it has been shown, without subsequent evidence to the contrary, that at least one pollutant interaction may affect asthmatics. Eight male and five female adolescents performed moderate, intermittent exercise while inhaling
Also, therapy to optimize natural immune function may decrease the intensity of an allergic response to pollutants. Thus, individuals with allergies are wise to seek help from a sports medicine physician who is experienced in the care of exercise-induced bronchospasm EIB. EIB is the major problem of allergic athletes because the bronchospasm often is under-appreciated or misinterpreted; it occurs in over of asthmatics. For optimal exercise performance, EIB requires specific medical management. Although beyond the scope of this book, thorough descriptions of protocols to identify and treat EIB have been published elsewhere.
Other types of allergic problems may degrade exercise performance. These include rhinitis, hay fever, sinusitis, hives, urticaria, and adverse reactions to drugs. The management of these specific illnesses involves identifying them and providing supportive therapy, although measures have limited effectiveness in reducing the severity and duration of symptoms.
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