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Exercise and Fitness

Facial flushing with exercise

08/30/2002

Question:

I am a 48 year old female in excellent health. I follow a steady regime of fitness walking 5 or 6 days a week. I have a problem with my face getting very red and very hot to the touch when I mow the yard or exercise strenously. It takes close to an hour for this to go away. I don`t have any physical discomfort or any other symtoms. Could you give me an idea why this happens? It doesn`t seem to be rosacea because there are no bumps and it is only red during the heat flush. My normal blood pressure runs 115/70.

Answer:

Based on the information you`ve provided, I`m not sure if you are exercising indoors or outdoors, however, if the redness is due to weather conditions including air temperature, relative humidity, air movement (i.e., wind speed)and, solar radiation from sunlight, the American College of Sports Medicine offers recommendations to alleviate heat stress. These include: 1) Choose clothing affording no barrier to heat loss and sweat evaporation, 2) Reschedule exercise for a cooler time of day, 3) Relocate to shady, breezier site or indoors with fans and air conditioning, and 3) Slow exercise or add rest breaks to maintain the same target heart rate (THR) as normally prescribed. Keep in mind, too, that proper hydration is a key element in preventing heat illness and for optimizing physical activity. Therefore, be sure to drink fluids before, during, and after physical activity. If you feel that your condition is non-related to environmental factors, I recommend consulting with your primary physician regarding facial flushing.

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Response by:

Carolyn   Nickol, RD, MEd Carolyn Nickol, RD, MEd
Director
Fitness Center at CARE\Crawley
University of Cincinnati