Apologies for the lack of recent posts, but the combination of work and my injury means I’ve been slightly preoccupied recently! I recently read a post on the runkeeper blog about running with asthma (http://blog.runkeeper.com/2949/8-easy-tips-to-enjoy-running-with-asthma) and it made me think about my own medical issues and running. I’m not asthmatic, but along with <0.5% of the UK population, I suffer from a life threatening allergy to wasp and bee stings. Surprisingly, I found that several of these tips could also be applied to running with an allergy, and I thought I’d modify them to provide advice to anyone also wanting to run whilst suffering from allergies.
1) Talk to your doctor
My doctors are aware that I like to run outside, and in order to do this I just have to minimise the risks involved. Make sure your doctors are aware of what you are doing, and happy for you to do it. I visit an allergy clinic fairly frequently at the moment for immunotherapy, to reduce the severity of my reactions to wasp and bee stings. Until I’ve fully completely the treatment (which will take about 3 years!), I have to be cautious and be prepared that I may have an anaphylactic reaction.
2) Bring your medication
I never leave the house without my epipens, and I also don’t run without them. I use a running belt to store them in and strap it round my waist. I use the LUPO sports belt which easily fits 2 epipens and cost me ~£7 from Amazon. It is slightly annoying to have to run wearing it, as I’d much rather run not carrying anything, but it isn’t worth the risk of being stung without having them!
3) Avoid certain areas
When running in my local area, I know that certain areas will have more insects in than others; near flowers, lakes etc. If possible, I try and strategically avoid these places so I don’t encounter any insects. Obviously if you know there are beehives near where you run, avoid them too!
4) Cover up
Not always possible because of the temperature, but the less skin on show, the less there is available to sting!
5) Bring your phone
Chances are, you won’t get stung and you won’t have to use your epipens. However, if the worst comes to the worst, you want to be able to call 999 as soon as possible, so make sure you have a phone to hand
6) Tell a friend where you are going
I usually run by myself, so I always let someone know where I’m going, just in case. I also like to tell them roughly how long to expect me to be gone for. It’s probably overkill, but it makes me feel better!
7) Wear insect repellent
Pretty self explanatory, I’m not really sure how effective it is when you’re sweating, but I’ve not been stung whilst running yet!
8) Have fun!
Try not to let your allergies stop you from living your life. When I’m in the middle of a run, all I’m thinking about is that run. Not feeling sorry for myself, not being scared about a wasp sting and not being annoyed about having to wear my running belt! I’m going to keep on running, and I won’t let this stop me!