Aspirin / Salicylate Allergy

Salicylates occur naturally in plants are derived from a substance called salicylic acid. They help to keep plants healthy by boosting the immune system. They can also be found in a range of other things, both natural and manmade (i.e. medicines such as aspirin, perfume and beauty products, fresh fruit and vegetables, preserving agents.)

For some, the ingestion of salicylates can cause the immune system to start off an allergic reaction. Symptoms are varied but can include distressed breathing, swelling of the extremities (such as the hands and feet), pain in the abdomen, rashes or hives, blocked sinuses and headache. Severe reactions can lead to anaphylaxis.

As with most allergies, it is best to first get properly diagnosed then design an allergy treatment plan, that best suits your lifestyle.  Salicylate allergies can be tricky to diagnose initially because they can be found in such a wide range of products. The only fully conclusive way to diagnose an allergy to salicylates is to run a double blind test. Your doctor should test your reactivity with a combination of products that contain the allergen and also with placebos. This will help pinpoint not only the allergy but also give you a better idea of what product is causing the problem. Once identified, this can be removed from your diet and hopefully your symptoms will be eliminated.

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