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Network Health Blog

Am I Allergic to Running?

marathon legs

Network Health’s President and CEO Coreen Dicus-Johnson is preparing for her very first half-marathon. It’s a big goal, but she is determined to accomplish it. Plus, she has the support of her daughter Miranda and Network Health’s Wellness experts who can offer guidance and tips along the way.


Earlier this year, Coreen and Miranda began training for community races. They planned on starting with 5Ks then building their way up to the Fox Cities Half Marathon in September. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned. As many new runners will tell you, “expect the unexpected.” Many times, this means injuries. But health conditions also prove to be unexpected obstacles. Below, Coreen shares her experience in her own words.

Am I Allergic to Running? Well the short answer is yes. I know this sounds ridiculous—like a bad excuse to not exercise, similar to ‘my dog ate my homework.’

I just developed exercise-induced uticaria.  You are probably thinking, ‘What is that?’ Essentially this disorder causes me to break out in hives, my lips and sometimes my tongue swell after running.

The crazy thing is it just happened one day.  I have been running with my daughter on and off for about a year. Over the Christmas holiday, I ran several times and no issues. Then on January 5, 2017, while staying at the Kimberly/Appleton Hilton, it happened.  I woke up early for a run on the hotel treadmill.  I finished a three-mile run and started to get ready for my day.  I got out of the shower and my whole body was inflamed with horrible itchy hives—a nuisance for sure. But then my lips and tongue started to swell. I panicked and called my husband who proceeded to yell at me for calling him instead of 911. I got off the phone, dressed frantically (I looked like a hot mess and to be honest I was not fit for public view).  I drove quickly to an urgent care for treatment.

I described for the physician what I was doing before the break out and he diagnosed me with exercise-induced uticaria. Quite frankly, I was shocked. I couldn’t imagine that exercise could cause an allergic reaction.

By the way, to add insult to injury, the physician who treated me recognized me as the new CEO of Network Health.  Apparently he was one of the founding physicians of the health plan. Great—I was hoping that my hot mess self could be anonymous, but I guess that wasn’t going to happen.”

No one wants to break out in hives or have an allergic reaction to exercise, but the good news is, Coreen’s doctor said she could continue to exercise, but he did give her a few guidelines. It’s important to always pay attention to your body and talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine. In Coreen’s case, she should always exercise with a partner who knows about her condition. Thankfully, her daughter Miranda has agreed to be her workout buddy.

Help support Coreen and leave a comment below.



  1.  Hannah Zillmer says:

    Who knew you could be allergic to running? Sounds like a great reason to avoid it – it’s great to hear that Coreen is pushing through to still reach her goal.

  2.  Peggy Murphy says:

    Very interesting. I have not heard of this condition before. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

  3.  Marilyn Bohman says:

    So sorry you have that sort of obstacle training for the half marathon. Most often its aches and pains, shin splints, sore knees etc. But, hives and itching!! Horrible! Especially when you’re so dedicated. Keep training and listen to your body. You can do it!! I ran my first half last fall and it was amazing!!! See you in the marathon.

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