Prevalence of allergy and upper respiratory tract symptoms in runners of London marathon

Robson-Ansley, Paula, Howatson, Glyn, Tallent, Jamie, Mitcheson, Kelly, Walshe, Ian, Toms, Christopher, Du Toit, George, Smith, Matt and Ansley, Les (2012) Prevalence of allergy and upper respiratory tract symptoms in runners of London marathon. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 44 (6). pp. 999-1004. ISSN 0195-9131

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)
Official URL:


The prevalence of self-reported upper respiratory tract (URT) symptoms in athletes has been traditionally associated with opportunistic infection during the temporal suppression of immune function following prolonged exercise. There is little evidence for this and a competing non-infectious hypothesis has been proposed, whereby the exercise-induced immune system modulations favor the development of atopy and allergic disease, which manifests as URT symptoms. The aim of this study was to examine the association between allergy and URT symptoms in runners following an endurance running event.

208 runners from the 2010 London marathon completed the validated Allergy Questionnaire for Athletes (AQUA) and had serum analysed for total and specific IgE to common inhalant allergens. Participants who completed the marathon and non-running controls, who lived in the same household, were asked to complete a diary on URT symptoms.

40% of runners had allergy as defined by both a positive AQUA and elevated specific IgE. 47% of runners suffered from URT symptoms following the marathon. A positive AQUA was a significant predictor of post-marathon URT symptoms in runners. Only 19% of nonrunning controls reported symptoms.

Prevalence of allergy in recreational marathon runners was similar to that in elite athletes and higher than the general population. There was a strong association between a positive AQUA and URT symptoms. The low proportion of households in which both runners and non-runners were symptomatic suggests that the nature of symptoms may be allergic or inflammatory based rather than infectious. Allergy is a treatable condition and its potential impact on performance and health may be avoided by accurate clinical diagnosis and management. Both athletes' and coaches awareness of the potential implications of poorly managed allergy needs to be raised.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: allergic rhinitis, athletes, exercise-induced asthma, inhalant allergens, upper respiratory tract infection
Subjects: C600 Sports Science
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation
Depositing User: Ay Okpokam
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2012 08:43
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2019 15:29

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics