While exercise is regarded as a positive way of improving your health, it is not uncommon for you to experience a sore throat and other flu-like symptoms after exercise. The American Academy of Family Physicians, or AAFP, recognizes this as exercise-induced bronchospasm, or EIB, a disorder affecting aerobic fitness and quality of life. Other causes could be asthma, vocal chord dysfunction or allergies.
EIB is a disorder in which the airways in your lungs shrink while you are exercising. According to American Family Physician Journal, EIB usually occurs 5 to 15 minutes after physical exertion. Although the disorder is highly preventable, it is under-recognized. In fact, between 80 and 90 percent of asthma patients also have EIB, and many people without asthma have EIB as well. A study by the "American Journal of Diseases of Children" found EIB in 29 percent of athletes presenting for athletic preparation exams.
According to NetWellness, the cause of EIB remains unknown, but one theory asserts that rapid breathing dries out and irritates the airways, giving you a sore throat. Symptoms of EIB might also include tightness in the chest, coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing and tiredness. FamilyDoctor.org says your physician can perform a test in which you breathe into a spirometer, or a peak flow meter. This will determine how much air you are able to blow out of your lungs, and he will be able to treat you accordingly.
According to AAFP, EIB can be treated with and without medicine. Warm up at least 10 minutes before doing any actual exercise. Cool down gradually by lowering the intensity of your workout instead of just stopping. Try exercising in warm, humid places. If you are exercising outdoors in cold temperatures, wrap a scarf around your nose and mouth. If your sore throat still persists, your doctor may prescribe an inhaler or oral medication as treatment.
Other Possible Causes
A sore throat after exercise may be the result of other respiratory diseases, such as vocal chord dysfunction, or VCD. With VCD, instead of the vocal chords opening during inhalation, they close. To diagnose you with VCD, your doctor would perform a laryngoscopy to see how your vocal chords are working during inhalation. It is possible that your sore throat might be from asthma without having EIB. The symptoms are very similar, and a diagnosis would come from an exam by your physician. According to FamilyDoctor.org, people tend to experience sore throats after exercise more in the spring and fall due to trouble with allergies, in which case, you might be able to be treated with allergy medication.
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