Aspirin is considered as one of the oldest medications and commonly utilized in various traditional medicinal remedies including Chinese medications. It is important to note that aspirin was originally extracted from plants but now processed synthetically. There are a number of similar medications which are known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Take note that NSAIDs are highly effective for fever and pain. These medications work by inhibiting the production of compounds involved in tissue inflammation and fever. Aspirin basically thins out the blood by interfering with the blood clotting ability and used by doctors for those who are at risk for stroke and heart attacks.
Just like all medications, aspirin and NSAIDs have side effects. The usual side effects include stomach upset and bruising at high doses. Large doses can cause ringing in the ears and confusion. Aspirin should not be given to children since it can cause severe liver damage which is a condition called Reye’s syndrome.
Allergy to aspirin
Some individuals develop an allergic reaction to aspirin. The symptoms typically occur within an hour of taking the medication and can be mild (hives, runny or blocked nose) to severe reactions that affects breathing. Many individuals who are allergic to aspirin or another NSAID will not react to other NSAIDs but some can react to other drugs in the group.
It is vital to be careful since aspirin is present in various types of medications and it might not always be obvious. The following are medications that might contain aspirin:
- Cold and flu remedies
- Some antacids
- Medications used for pain from headache, sinus and menstruation
- Teething gels
- Drugs utilized for inflammatory bowel disease
- Several complementary and alternative medications especially those used for pain and joint issues
If an individual is sensitive to aspirin, it is important to carefully read the labels. Always consult with a doctor first. Those who are suffering from hives, asthma or nose/sinus issues face a higher risk for an allergy to aspirin than those who do not have these conditions.
Some individuals with nasal polyps and asthma might be sensitive to aspirin. It is possible to desensitize these individuals as well as those with allergy to aspirin. This typically involves giving of small but increasing doses of aspirin over a period of time so that the body will tolerate the drug. This should only be performed by doctors who are experienced in aspirin desensitization.
Salicylates in food
The naturally occurring salicylates are present in various plant foods and bacteria and can include methyl-salicylate and other salicylate salts. Based in some studies, it was revealed that foods rich in naturally occurring salicylates can trigger symptoms of intolerance. On the other hand, there is limited data to prove if this is actually true.
The ideal way to determine if salicylates in food are causing the symptoms is to avoid high salicylate foods for 2-4 weeks and check if there is an improvement. Foods that contain high amounts of salicylate include coffee, tea, dried herbs and spices, sharp green apples, black pepper, cherries, dried fruit, strawberries, tomatoes, wine, fruit juices, licorice and peppermint.