Asthma & Aspirin Sensitivity

Asthma & Aspirin Sensitivity and What Aspirin Sensitive Asthmatics need to Know

According to the U.S. National Institute of Health an estimated 3-5% of persons with asthma experience allergic reactions to aspirin, aspirin related products. Aspirin compounds can be found in medicine, foods, cleaning products, personal hygiene products and cosmetics.

Aspirin sensitive Asthma patients can experience negative and adverse reactions to aspirin and aspirin related compounds that can cause their asthma to worsen, often in the form of a severe and sudden attack. Asthmatics that are sensitive to aspirin and aspirin can experience nasal congestion and abdominal pains. Additionally, aspirin sensitive patients can experience nasal polyps.

If you experience the following symptoms contact your physician or health care provider and avoid aspirin until advised by a medical professional. If your symptoms are severe don’t hesitate to seek emergency care. Allergic reactions to aspirin can be life threatening to some Asthmatics. Seek medical advice if you have asthma and you notice any of the following:

* Severe Rash
* Severe Hives
* Swelling of the mouth or throat

Aspirin Compounds (commonly known as Salicylates) can also be found in Foods, Household and Personal Hygiene Products such as Soaps and Shampoos and Cosmetics

What are Salicylates?

Salicylates are chemicals found naturally in plants and are a major ingredient of aspirin and other pain-relieving medications. They are also found in many fruits and vegetables, as well as many common health and beauty products.

What Are the Symptoms of a Salicylate Allergy?

Common symptoms of Salicylate allergy

* Hives, rashes, mouth ulcers
* Skin itching or irritation
* Burning, soreness, puffiness or itching in the eyes
* Changes in skin color
* Swelling in the hands and feet
* Swelling of the face, lips or eyelids
* Headaches
* Nasal congestion
* Asthma
* Wheezing, trouble breathing, a cough that won’t go away
* Exhaustion
* Nasal polyps
* Incontinence, bedwetting or an urgency to urinate
* Sinus inflammation
* Nausea or stomach pain
* Diarrhea
* Hyperactivity
* Loss of memory
* Depression
* Difficulty concentrating

Foods with the highest salicylate levels include: (consult your physician or health care provider for a full list)

* Fruits such as citrus, grapes (including champagne and wine) apples, avocados, plums, blueberries, dates, kiwi fruit, peaches, raspberries, figs, grapes, strawberries, cherries, grapefruit, and prunes
* Vegetables such as tomatoes, alfalfa, cauliflower, cucumbers, mushrooms, radishes, broad beans, eggplant, spinach, zucchini, broccoli, and hot peppers
* Some cheeses
* Herbs, spices, and condiments such as dry spices and powders, tomato pastes and sauces, vinegar, and soy sauce, jams, and jellies
* Beverages such as coffee, wine, beer, orange juice, apple cider, regular and herbal tea, rum, and sherry
* Nuts such as pine nuts, peanuts, pistachios, and almonds
* Some candies, such as peppermints, licorice, and mint-flavored gum and breath mints
* Tea
* Honey

Highlighted below is a partial list of some of the more commonly known medicines and foods that aspirin sensitive patients should avoid. (Consult and discuss this with your Physician or Health Care provider)

Aspirin and non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs are sold over-the-counter in a variety of preparations and under many different names. One must be careful to read labels on over-the-counter cold remedies, allergy medicines, pain killers, and relievers of stomach discomfort, many of which contain aspirin.

Over-the-Counter Medications reported to contain aspirin:

* Ascriptin
* Empirin
* Bufferin
* Halfprin
* Ecotrin

Non-Steroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs

* Actron
* Ibuprohm
* Advil
* Motrin IB
* Aleve
* Nuprin
* Ibuprofen
* Orudis KT

Aspirin-Containing Medications

* Alka Seltzer Plus
* Doan’s
* Anacin
* Excedrin
* Aquaprin
* Goody’s Headache Powders
* Bayer Children’s Cold Table
* Stanback Headache Powders
* BC Powder
* St. Joseph Cold Tablet for Children
* Cama Arthritis Pain Relieve
* Vanquish
* Cope

Prescription Medications Aspirin-Containing Medications

* Easprin
* Percodan
* Fiorinal
* Zoprin

Non-Steroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs

* Anaprox
* Nalfon
* Ansaid
* Naprosyn
* Clinoril
* Orudis
* Daypro
* Oruvail
* Disalcid
* Ponstel
* Feldene
* Relafen
* Indocin
* Tolectin
* Lodin
* Toradol
* Meclomen
* Voltaren
* Motrin

Many aspirin sensitive Asthmatics that experience nasal polyps may be diagnosed by their physician, asthma specialist or allergist with Samter’s triad. Samter’s triad is a medical condition consisting of asthma, aspirin sensitivity, and nasal polyposis.

Some people find relief of symptoms by following a low-salicylate diet such as the Feingold diet. They may need to eliminate the other salicylate-containing foods identified by Swain in 1985 as well. For those who need them, these salicylates are listed in charts in the Feingold Handbook based on level of salicylate measured in the item. Unfortunately, any such list is only a rough guideline since amounts will vary depending on fruit/vegetable variety and where grown; in fact, organic foods have been shown to contain more salicylate than conventional produce because the plant is more likely to be under attack from pests, and salicylate is produced by the plant as protection.