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Current Opinion in Allergy & Clinical Immunology:
doi: 10.1097/ACI.0b013e3283445852
Occupational disease: Edited by Susan M. Tarlo and Piero Maestrelli

The prevalence and current opinion of treatment of allergic rhinitis in elite athletes

Dijkstra, Hendrik Pa; Robson-Ansley, Paulab

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Abstract

Purpose: The aim of this review is to highlight the prevalence of allergic rhinitis in athletes and the impact this condition may have on their athletic performance. Furthermore, the optimal management of medical conditions in the elite athlete forms an important part of protecting the health of the athlete.

Recent findings: The use of pharmacological intervention in the treatment of allergic rhinitis in elite athletes requires careful planning. A variety of factors must be considered prior to prescription such as drug efficacy and safety both at rest and in conjunction with strenuous exercise, associated side effects on athletic performance and well being and whether the chosen drug is on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned list.

Summary: Allergic rhinitis is common in elite athletes and may impair athletic performance and recovery. We advise that all elite and professional athletes should be screened for allergic rhinitis using validated questionnaire such as the Allergy Questionnaire for Athletes (AQUA) alongside skin prick testing or specific IgE blood tests for inhalant allergens. Intranasal corticosteroids are highly recommended as the management drug of choice for athletes in conjunction with second-generation antihistamines (severity dependant) and when practicable, allergen avoidance.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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