To cite this article: Del Giacco SR, Carlsen K-H, Du Toit G. Allergy and sports in children. Pediatric Allergy Immunol 2012: 23: 11–20.
Physical activity is beneficial for children with positive outcomes for mental and physical well-being. Allergic conditions unique to the sporting arena may serve as an impediment to participation in physical activity for allergic children. A common example is exercise-induced asthma; less common activity-related allergic conditions include food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis, exercise-induced anaphylaxis, and exercise-induced urticaria. Allergic children may also be at risk of allergic reactions when exposed to allergens that are more commonly found in the sports environment, e.g., latex, sports drinks, and medications such as NSAIDs. Recent advances in our understanding of the patho-physiological and immunologic mechanisms that may account for these conditions have facilitated more effective and safer management strategies. There are also important immunologic lessons to be learnt with respect to specific physical factors that may result in diminished allergen tolerance; indeed, these lessons may facilitate safer allergen desensitisation regimens. The role of the immune system in exercise-induced immunoallergic syndromes, clinical aspects, and diagnostic and therapeutic approaches are discussed in this review.