Asthma attacks are rarely triggered by food, but symptoms of allergic reaction can mimic asthma symptoms. It is therefore important as an asthma patient to know if you have any food allergy. Any abnormal reaction to food can be referred to as an allergic reaction.
Some symptoms of food allergies include;
Food allergy that triggers symptoms of asthma attack often start with the allergy symptoms, followed by coughing and wheezing, and if care is not taken, anaphylaxis may occur.
Most common foods associated with allergic symptoms are;
- Cow milk: The allergic reaction to cow milk is often seen in babies and young children, especially when they have been exposed to cow milk before they turn six months old. However 90% of children will out grow the condition by the time they turn 3 making it less common in adults.
- Eggs: Allergic reactions to egg is common in children. However, 68% of children outgrow allergic reactions to eggs by the time they turn 16. It is possible to show allergic reactions to egg white but not to egg yolk and vice versa. Although most of the allergy are found in egg whites.
- Peanuts: Allergic reaction to peanuts are very common and can be severe. In some cases they are potentially fatal. It has been shown that introducing peanuts through breast feeding mother’s diet during weaning can trigger a peanut allergy in the child. If you have this allergy, try to avoid peanuts and peanut-containing products.
- Soy: Soy allergies are mostly common in infants and children under the age of 3. They are triggered by a protein in soy bean or soybean-containing products . The symptoms are similar to symptoms of other allergic foods and in some cases, they can cause anaphylaxis. It is important to read labels to decipher foods that contain soy products like soy milk or soy sauce.
- Shrimp and other shell fish: Allergic reaction to this food occurs when your body is attacking proteins from the crustecean and mollusk families of fish, which are known as shell fish. The common trigger is caused by a protein called tropomyosin. Symptoms of shell fish allergy usually come in quickly and doesn’t tend to resolve over time. People with this condition must exclude shell fish from thier diet to avoid having the allergic reactions.
- Wheat: The allergy in wheat is caused by a response to one of the proteins found in wheat. It is common in children, although children with wheat allergy can outgrow it by the time they reach 10 years. Wheat allergy causes an immune response to one of the proteins found in wheat, this reaction can be severe and sometimes fatal. People with this allergy need to avoid wheat and can tolerate gluten from grains that do not contain wheat.
- Tree nuts: Tree nuts include almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, walnuts, pine nuts etc. Most people show allergic reactions to any food produced from these nuts, food like nut butter and oils. People are advised to stay away from all tree nuts even if you have allergic reaction to only one type of tree nut. This is because, being allergic to one type of tree nut can increase your risk of developing allergy to other types of nut.
Food preservatives can also trigger an asthma attack. Such additives like sodium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite, potassium bisulfite, potassium metabisulfite and sodium sulfite are commonly used as preservatives for processed foods. Such preservatives should be avoided by asthmatic patients because they trigger symptoms of asthmatic attacks. Such preservatives can be found in foods like;
- Wine and beer
- Dried fruits and vegetables
- Packaged or preprocessed potatoes
- Pickled foods
HELPFUL TIPS IF YOU HAVE FOOD ALLERGY AND ASTHMA
- Avoid foods that can trigger asthma attack.
You can do this by avoiding foods you are allergic to. Always try to read labels and inquire how foods are prepared when you eat out.
- You can opt for allergy shots.
Allergy shots train your immune system not to overreact. Allergy shots are given in an immuno therapeutic manner ie. You are administered a small quantity of the substance that causes your allergy, and after repeated shots over a long period of time, your immune system automatically stops causing the allergic reaction.
- Always keep Epinephrine with you.
It is important to always have 2 shot kits of epinephrine if you notice that your allergies are severe. Do not hesitate to use the epinephrine if you have any sign of anaphylaxis.
Remember, you can’t magically cure yourself of asthma symptoms using special foods, but the food you eat can have an influence. So eat right, read food labels, ask questions and always adhere to your doctor’s directives.