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

Dijkstra, Hendrik P; Robson-Ansley, Paula

Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology: April 2011 - Volume 11 - Issue 2 - p 103–108
doi: 10.1097/ACI.0b013e3283445852
Occupational disease: Edited by Susan M. Tarlo and Piero Maestrelli

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.

aUK Athletics, Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth, London, UK

bSchool of Life Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK

Correspondence to Dr Paula Robson-Ansley, School of Life Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE1 8ST, UK Tel: +44 191 224 7774; e-mail:

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