The Effects of Allergy and Asthma on Athletes

The most watched sporting event is here again. Super Bowl 50 will be aired on February 7, 2016. What’s better, the main event, or the commercials in between? We’ll let you decide.


For the millions of Americans who love playing the game as well as watching it, allergies and asthma can be a significant hurdle. Since most practices occur in the great outdoors where seasonal pollens can stir up allergy and asthma symptoms, it’s important to be aware of triggers, symptoms and treatment options.

The Effect of Allergies and Asthma in Athletic Games and Training

Football is challenging enough, but even more so if an athlete is suffering from sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, nasal congestion, or is having trouble breathing. Allergens can also trigger asthma attacks, causing lungs to be inflamed and restricting breath capacity.

Allergy and Asthma Treatment for Athletes

Even though athletes may be warriors, few people can completely ignore allergy symptoms which can affect performance. Antihistamines may provide temporary relief for basic allergic reactions, but note that they can cause drowsiness and disrupt sleep patterns. Asthma inhalers can also be used, but they don’t always provide complete relief (and can also have side effects).

If allergies are significantly interfering with an athlete’s performance, they should speak to a physician about achieving long-term relief with immunotherapy. Immunotherapy can be administered through allergy shots or under-the-tongue allergy drops. Both can desensitize the immune system to allergens in the environment so that it will stop reacting to pollens with debilitating allergy symptoms.