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Allergy to Aspirine

Aspirin – a very commonly used drug!!

Aspirin is used very frequently to reduce pain from inflammation and injury, as well as fever. Nowadays, aspirin is made synthetically, and a number of similar synthetic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), have also been introduced.

Production of prostaglandins is restricted by aspirin. Aspirin also inhibits production of an enzyme known as cyclooxygenase-1, (COX-I). Aspirin also thins the blood, thus reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.


What are the side-effects of aspirin?

Common side effects of aspirin include-

  • bruising and stomach upset which occurs quite regularly.
  • ulcers or bleeding from the bowel
  • very high doses may cause confusion or ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • aspirin should also be avoided in children, as it can trigger a condition known as Reye's syndrome, where severe liver inflammation occurs.

Symptoms of allergic reactions to aspirin include –

Symptoms include –

  • itchy rashes
  • blocked and runny noses – nasal congestion
  • severe difficulty in breathing with asthma like symptoms, usually within an hour of taking a tablet.
  • itchy and watery eyes
  • hives
  • worsening asthma
  • rashes around the mouth
  • cough and wheezing

Presence of some medical conditions such as urticaria, sinusitis, asthma increases the likelihood and probability of aspirin allergy.


What treatment is available?

Aspirin desensitization or immunotherapy is a very useful option usually suggested by allergy specialists. This is usually most successful in selected patients diagnosed with the "aspirin triad" - a condition in which patients suffer from aspirin allergy, nasal polyps and asthma.

Although patients advised immunotherapy are allergic to aspirin, most can be made to tolerate high doses of aspirin by starting off at a very low dose initially and increasing it gradually day by day.

Once a higher dose is reached, there is reduced production of inflammatory chemicals known as leucotrienes. As leucotrienes worsen asthma and polyp growth, aspirin desensitisation gradually reduces asthma severity, the rate of polyp regrowth, and the severity of sinusitis.

Aspirin desensitisation is to be done only under proper medical supervision.


What are the benefits of aspirin desensitisation in aspirin sensitive patients?

  • To help improve asthma control
  • To reduce the severity of sinusitis and nasal polyp growth
  • To reduce the rate at which polyps regrow
  • Highly beneficial for patients who need to use aspirin or similar medication for treatment ailments like cardiac attacks or arthritis.

Does aspirin desensitization have any side-effects?

  • Stomach irritation
  • Ulceration and bowel bleeding at high doses
  • Easy bruising ­
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Severe liver inflammation

What precautions to be taken by persons allergic to aspirin?

  • Avoid taking any medication that contains aspirin. Aspirin is quite a common composition in medications for headaches, colds, coughs, allergies, sinus problems, arthritis, rheumatism, menstrual cramps, stomach acidity, backaches and a lot more day to day aches.
  • Read food labels carefully. Aspirin is a salicyclate, and many foods and drinks, especially preservatives and colourants contain salicyclates. An allergy to salicylates may be associated with an allergy to certain other chemicals, such as azo dyes (colourant) and sodium benzoate (preservative). Consult an allergist about what particular chemicals to avoid.
  • Go for a healthy and balanced diet . Eat lots of fresh, green vegetables, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products and whole grain cereals. These foods are naturally low in salicylates.
  • Avoid mint - flavoured foods such as chewing gums, mouth freshners and toothpaste as they might contain salicylates.
  • Avoid foods very high in salicylates such as apricots, grapes, oranges, plums, pineapples, radishes, tomatoes, dried and canned fruits, all types of jams and jellies, fruit juices, soya sauce.
  • Add a supplement of vitamin C with bioflavonoids to your diet. Vitamin C helps the body cope with allergens and decrease inflammation.

Some simple home remedies to provide comfort from the allergy-

  • Try to keep the itchy area cool and wet. Apply cloths soaked in ice water.
  • Avoid excessive sun rays and remain in a cool place. Heat aggravates the allergy.
  • Use gentle soaps such as Dove, Oil of Olay. Avoid using strong soaps and deodorant soaps around blisters.
  • Wear cotton clothing. Avoid wool and acrylic fabrics next to the skin.
  • Do not scratch the blisters. Scratching leads to more scratching and may cause a skin infection to develop.
  • Mix equal amounts of honey and cinnamon powder and apply to the affected area.
  • Take some vegetable oil or sunflower oil, mix sugar to make a kind of paste, apply to hands and wait for a few minutes. When you wash it off, hands will become soothed.
  • Avoid eating tomatoes or citrus fruits while you have hives.
  • Wash the skin several times a day with vinegar water. Make a solution by adding 1/4 parts of apple cider vinegar and 1/2 parts of water and wash the skin.