Asthma and food allergies go hand-in-hand for many people. For example the majority of food-related anaphylaxis occurs in people who have asthma. An asthma attack is caused when muscles inside the lungs become inflamed and spasm thus constricting the bronchial tubes and restricting air intake. Treatment is a combination of lifestyle changes, daily medications and rescue medications (including EpiPen’s used in anaphylaxis).
Identifying asthma trigger foods and avoiding them is primary to treatment:
Eggs are common food allergens among children, although most will outgrow it. After ingestion an Egg allergy can take from a few minutes to a few hours to show up. The most common reaction is hives or inflammation however a few people will develop symptoms of asthma including coughing and shortness of breath.
2. Cow’s milk
A cow’s milk allergic reactions will show up shortly after consumption. Asthmatics do not have a higher incidence of anaphylaxis compared to people without asthma. However, milk allergies are still the third most common cause of anaphylaxis.
Allergic reactions can occur with simple cross-contamination of food or ingestion. As the symptoms of a reaction and asthma are very similar some asthmatics may not at first realize they have a peanut allergy. Therefore asthmatics should be checked for peanut allergies as they have a greater risk of anaphylaxis.
Soy allergies are common food allergens but symptoms are usually minor. Chiefly itching, eczema or digestive problems. In very rare cases anaphylaxis will occur. However, most cases are in people who already have asthma or have other food allergies.
A wheat allergy is not the same as celiac disease as the cause and treatment are very different. A person with both asthma and an allergy to wheat is at a greater risk of severe reactions since both have the same symptoms. A reaction can show up after ingestion or exercising. In this case an asthmatic could easily treat asthma instead of the allergy thus putting them at greater risk of complications.
An allergy to shellfish isn’t as simple as it sounds. There are many types of shellfish in the crustacean and mollusk families including lobster, shrimp, squid and scallops. It is possible to be allergic to one or all of them. Pre-existing conditions like asthma may increase the odds of having anaphylaxis.
7. Food Additives
Allergies to food additives are the broadest category of allergens. For ease of understanding they are broken down into groups some of which include food colorings, taste enhancers and preservatives. Some additives should be avoided by asthmatics even if they don’t have an allergy as they are known to make symptoms worse. Generally asthmatics should keep additives in mind when identifying asthma trigger foods.
8. Tree nuts
There are many types of tree nuts but a person with an allergy to one type has a much higher chance of being allergic to additional types. Therefore they are commonly asked to avoid all varieties. Although most people will suffer more minor symptoms including scratchy throat or hives a person with asthma may have a higher chance of developing a severe reaction including anaphylaxis.