Mark Wahlberg has been a fitness icon since the early 90s. The 49-year-old actor, restaurateur and former rapper has always had an incredible rig, and keeps in tip-top shape through a frankly ridiculous daily routine including a pre-dawn workout and cryotherapy.
Wahlberg owns a stake in Australian international fitness phenomenon F45, and even produced some (now cringy) workout videos in the 90s during his Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch days. In short? He’s a fitness inspiration for men the world over, who’d like to emulate his remarkable build and youthful vigour.
But his latest fitness escapade, a recent trip to an immunologist, perhaps shouldn’t be so quickly emulated.
The big Boston boy posted a photo of his (huge) back covered in welts from an allergy sensitivity test, also called a ‘scratch test’. For those who are unfamiliar, sensitivity or tolerance tests involve having your skin pricked with a variety of different, common allergens in order to diagnose potential allergies or intolerances.
View this post on Instagram
Wahlberg’s comment is obviously a joke, but allergy tests can be scary (and a pain in the arse). Getting treated like a corkboard and getting a nasty rash to boot? It’s hardly the kind of thing you’d do just for kicks.
Fellow actor (and Hollywood heartthrob) Chris Pratt saw the funny side too.
“I’m no doctor, but based on the inflammation near the puncture marks it looks like you’re allergic to getting poked by needles,” Pratt commented on the Instagram post.
Mark’s nephew Jeff joined in on the fun, commenting “what if u found out u were allergic to wine”.
All jokes aside, Wahlberg’s allergy experiment might have done him more harm than good.
DMARGE spoke to A/Prof Sheryl van Nunen, Senior Staff Specialist in the Department of Clinical Immunology and Allergy at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, and Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Sydney. As an internationally recognised authority on allergies and clinical immunology, she warns that sensitivity tests can sometimes return false positives.
“While it is possible to develop allergies later in life, it’s more common among kids or the elderly.”
“You’re likely to return a positive reaction towards something, but that doesn’t mean that you have a serious allergy. Whatever you do, make sure your testing is factually and clinically based. Different testing regimes pick up different things, too,” she explains.
In short? Just because Wahlberg’s back looks bad, doesn’t mean he necessarily has a bad allergy, and certainly doesn’t mean you need to run off and get an allergy test.
Because strong allergies are so uncommon, it’s unlikely that cutting out a food or allergen you have a sensitivity to isn’t going to miraculously improve your health. So keep that cat around and keep eating prawns (unless have an anaphylactic reaction, in which case, uh, don’t).
Prof van Nunen reveals that the most common allergy in Australia is hayfever, 74% of which is caused by dust mites.
“Australia’s climate makes it easy for dust mites to proliferate – they thrive in warm conditions. Additionally, dust mites are more prevalent on the coast, as they like humidity. Essentially, good weather equals more dust mites.”
Food allergies affect around 2% of Australian adults, with the most common being egg, milk, nuts, sesame, soy, fish, shellfish, and wheat allergies, according to the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy.