Background:The prevalence of allergy in athletes is increasing, and its risk varies across sports. Most of the studies have been assessing the prevalence of allergic symptoms using
questionnaires, thus, the real prevalence of allergy in elite endurance athletes remains unknown. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of allergy and allergic symptoms in elite endurance
Methods:Sixty male elite athletes (40 runners and 20 triathletes) were invited to take part in this cross sectional study. They were assessed for allergy by serum specific IgE to the
most common inhalant and only results > 0,35 IU/mL were considered positive. Allergy was defined as a sensitization to at least one of the selected allergens. Allergy symptoms were assessed using the
AQUA© questionnaire that is composed of 25 questions regarding allergic symptoms, family history of allergy, suspicion of allergy, and the use of allergy medicines. The sum of these questions was used
to classify athletes with (score ≥5) and without symptoms of allergy (score <5). Athletes were asked additional questions about training experience, training distance per week, and best performance in
10 kilometers, half-marathon and marathon (for the runners) and Olympic distance, half-ironman and ironman (for the triathletes). Results: 60 of 103 athletes, agreed to participate in
the study. The average age was 29.9 ± 6.0 years old. The athletes were involved in long distance sports for 9.7 ± 5.7 years and the performance of the distance runners (10km, half marathon and
marathon) and triathletes (Olympic distance, half ironman and ironman) were respectively: 31.0±1.2min, 1h:07min±1.9min and 2h:24min±5.8min, and 1h:55±4.9min, 4h:03±13.9min and 9h:04±28.9. The
prevalence of allergy (IgE antibodies to at least one or more common inhalant allergens) was 57.6% and 54.2% of athletes had a positive AQUA© score. Twenty-five percent (15/59) and 37.2% (22/59) of
athletes reported a physician-diagnosed allergic disease and a self-reported allergic symptom, respectively. Conclusions: : Elite endurance athletes have a high prevalence of allergy.
Allergy certainly influences wellbeing and probably, the athletic performance; therefore, elite endurance athletes should be assessed for allergy.