The exact causes of asthma are yet to be known. But what we already know is that when an asthmatic person comes in contact with a trigger, their airways are narrowed, get inflamed, and are filled with mucus. From smoking to the weather, there a lot of triggers associated with asthma. But did you know asthma and food allergies are also related? If not, here are some important things that you need to know.
Asthma and food allergies: How are they related?
Asthma triggered by various allergies is common. As high as 80% of asthma patients get asthma allergies from various triggers such as grass, pollen, animal dander, mold, dust mites, and droppings of insects such as cockroaches. Just like these allergens, in some cases, certain types of foods can also trigger asthma. The reactions to food allergies can range anywhere between mild to seriously life-threatening. In very rare cases, food allergies will cause asthma, which will not be accompanied by some other symptoms. In people who have food allergies, asthma can be a severe reaction, which is known as anaphylaxis. Foods that can trigger allergic reactions include:
- Tree nuts
- Seafood such as shrimps
- Cow milk
Food allergies and asthma: What are the symptoms?
In normal cases, the symptoms caused by food allergies include nausea, hives, vomiting, rash, and diarrhea. But when someone has food allergies that can trigger asthma, the symptoms will include the following:
If not treated immediately, the allergies can lead to anaphylaxis, which is swelling in the throat that causes blockage in the airways.
Can food preservatives trigger asthma?
Preservatives present in foods can also lead to an asthma attack. Preservatives that are commonly used in foods include sodium sulfite, sodium metabisulfite, sodium bisulfite, potassium bisulfite, and sodium metabisulfite. These are commonly found in foods such as:
- Alcoholic drinks such as beer and wine
- Dried vegetables or fruits
- Lemon or lime juice which is bottled
- Packaged potatoes
- Pickled foods
What can be done in case of food allergies and asthma?
There are several ways that can be used to stay safe from asthma triggered by food allergies. These include the following:
- Stay away from the triggers
Avoid eating foods that can cause allergies. Make sure that you read the labels before picking up food from the stores. If you are eating out, you can ask about the preparations and ingredients that the eatery is using to cook the food.
- Take allergy shots
These shots can help the immune system to not react to certain allergens. Shots of the allergens that trigger asthma are administered into the patient by the doctor. After taking shots for some time, the immune system eventually stops giving an allergic reaction to the substance.