Itching During Exercise

Itching during exercise can cause an uncomfortable, distracting sensation, and stopping to scratch the itch often just makes you itchier. Exercising in certain environmental conditions might cause or exacerbate itching, and people with allergies and other medical conditions have an increased risk of being itchy during exercise. Itching during exercise is preventable and treatable with lifestyle changes and possibly medical care.


Reasons for Itching

Itching might occur on a small area of skin or all over your body. You might notice increased itchiness where clothing seams touch your skin or when wearing garments made of materials that can trigger allergic reactions, such as wool. You also might notice symptoms such as hives, rash, redness, swelling of your face or hands, headache, stomachache or difficulty breathing while you exercise. If you are new to exercise, you might itch from the increased blood flow.

Causes of Itching

Dry skin is a common cause of itching. Environmental conditions and personal behaviors, including spending time in hot or cold temperatures with low humidity, central heating and cooling systems, and frequent bathing, can dry out your skin and lead to itching while exercising. Medical conditions, including eczema, celiac disease, diabetes and exercise-induced urticaria, can also cause itchy skin. In addition, allergic reactions to medications, foods, poisonous plants, detergents and fabrics such as wool might cause your skin to itch during exercise.

Treatments for Itchy Skin

Treat dry skin with ointments or creams that contain moisturizers and anti-itch ingredients such as oatmeal, menthol, camphor and calamine. Taking oral antihistamines or corticosteroids can also reduce itching while exercising. In cases of severe itching while exercising, doctors often prescribe epinephrine for patients to keep on hand and inject when symptoms begin.

Prevention Methods

Avoid triggers that cause itching, such as pollen and synthetic workout clothes, and take an antihistamine before exercise. Apply a moisturizer to dry skin before exercising, and cover areas that tend to get itchy with a bandage or clothing. Slow down or stop exercise when itching develops to prevent symptoms from worsening. Exercise with a partner who can help seek medical care if needed.


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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or