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International Journal of Otolaryngology
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 8098426, 5 pages
Review Article

Prevalence of Rhinitis in Athletes: Systematic Review

1Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Guy’s and St Thomas’ University Hospital, London, UK
2Department of Physical Education and Sports, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia
3Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia

Correspondence should be addressed to Pavol Surda

Received 8 March 2017; Accepted 9 July 2017; Published 9 August 2017

Academic Editor: Peter S. Roland

Copyright © 2017 Pavol Surda et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Prevalence of rhinitis in athletes has frequently been studied and varies widely from 27% to 74%. The aim of this systematic review was to examine the prevalence of rhinitis in athletes, to specifically compare the evidence of rhinitis in land-based and aquatic athletes. Methods. Systematic search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the non-MEDLINE subset of PubMed was performed from inception to March 8, 2016, to identify studies on rhinitis in athletes. Results. Of the 373 identified unique articles, a total of 13 studies satisfied the criteria for this review. The final group contained 9 cohort and 4 case-control studies. We found 10 studies that reported the prevalence of allergic rhinitis (21%–56.5%). In contrast, nonallergic rhinitis was identified by only 1 author (6%). We have also evaluated the prevalence of rhinitis in the separate subgroups (land, water, and cold air) where swimmers seem to be the most affected (40%–74%), followed by cross-country skiers (46%) and track and field athletes (21 to 49%). Conclusion. We did not reveal any convincing trend of a higher prevalence in land-based athletes compared to general population. By contrast, aquatic and cold air athletes demonstrate increased prevalence reflecting the irritant effects of their environment on the nasal mucosa.