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How Does Aspirin Trigger Asthma

The Medicines That Persons With Aspirin

What is the link between aspirin and asthma ?

A list of medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, that contain aspirin and non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs is provided in this pamphlet for persons with aspirin-sensitive asthma. Because this list may not be perfectly complete and because new medications are continually being introduced, it is best to read the label of any new medicine that you take, and, when in doubt, ask your pharmacist or asthma care provider about it.

What Is Aspirin Desensitization

People with AERD can undergo a procedure, called aspirin desensitization, which can induce tolerance to aspirin. Even if youve had life-threatening respiratory reactions youll be able to take aspirin without reacting to it.

To do this, youre challenged with graded doses of aspirin over a period of several days. Your provider starts by giving a very small dose of aspirin and watches to see if you react. When you get to the dose that causes symptoms, youll keep getting that dose until you can tolerate this dose without adverse reaction. Youll then get higher and higher doses of the drug. As you keep getting the higher doses, your body will start to accept the drug without reacting.

Aspirin desensitization is generally done over a period of several days.

Who Should Take Aspirin

For people who have had a heart attack: Aspirin can help prevent a second heart attack. Your doctor has probably already prescribed aspirin for you.

For people who have had a stroke: Aspirin can help prevent a second stroke or a transient ischemic attack , which is often a warning sign of a stroke.

For people who have never had a heart attack or stroke: Talk to your doctor before you start taking aspirin every day. Aspirin lowers the risk of heart attack. But aspirin can also cause serious bleeding. And it is not clear that aspirin can help prevent a stroke if you have not already had a heart attack or stroke in the past. You and your doctor can decide if aspirin is a good choice for you based on your risk of a heart attack and your risk of serious bleeding. For help on this decision, see: Aspirin: Should I Take Daily Aspirin to Prevent a Heart Attack or Stroke?.

Aspirin may also be used by people who:

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Will Aspirin And Other Pain Relievers Make My Asthma Worse

Aspirin and other drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be harmful for people who have asthma. Ibuprofen and naproxen are a few examples of NSAIDs. If you are allergic to aspirin, ask your doctor or pharmacist to make sure any new medicine you might take is not related to aspirin.

People who have asthma can usually take acetaminophen safely. This medicine is typically used to relieve fever and pain. Very rarely, even acetaminophen may make asthma worse, which has prompted further studies to explore the link between acetaminophen and asthma. If acetaminophen makes your asthma worse, tell your doctor. He or she can help you find another type of pain reliever.

Chapter 2: Aspirin Sensitivity In Asthma

Why it is not advisable to administer aspirin to asthmatic ...

Many persons with asthma have been told by physicians or by friends and family members never to take aspirin. Why? Others with asthma take aspirin on occasion or even every day without any difficulty. What is the relationship between asthma and aspirin and other aspirin-like medications ? Should you too avoid taking aspirin, and if so, what alternative medications are safe to use?

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Risks To Consider While Using Essential Oils

People often respond differently to certain essential oils. It is best to consult your doctor before trying essential oils for asthma if you are taking any medication and are being treated for asthma, in particular.

Essential oils are also not recommended for asthmatics who are sensitive to smells. Since strong smells can trigger an asthma attack, you will want to dilute essential oils properly and only use them in small amounts. Always dilute essential oils in carrier oils, such as almond oil, jojoba oil, or avocado oil.

You may also be allergic to an essential oil, which in turn can trigger an asthma attack as well. That is why it is a good idea to test a few drops of the essential oil on the skin before using the oil on larger areas of the body.

Essential oils should relieve your asthma symptoms. If they worsen them, discontinue the use of essential oils immediately. Seek medical attention right away if you believe your asthma attacks are due to the essential oils.

Since asthma attacks can be fatal, using caution and heading to the doctor is always the right move. If youre experiencing a severe asthma attack, symptoms will include blue lips, sweating, a pale face, the inability to exhale, and a very rapid heartbeat.

How To Avoid Headaches While Using Essential Oils

Theres no one way to make sure that you dont get a headache while using essential oils. In fact, for the most part, if an oil gives you a headache, theres not really any way out of that, or to make sure that it doesnt give you a headache in the future. When using a new oil, theres not really any way to be positive that it wont give you a headache, or to avoid getting a headache while using it.

However, sometimes, people dilute the oil, adding some water to it. It makes it not as strong and powerful, and it lessens the scent to make it not as overwhelming, which is typically the cause of migraines when people use essential oils. So, diluting the oil makes it more tolerable for many people.

But, if you tend to get headaches with essential oils, or in general, there are specific oils that at least one of their uses and purposes is to help with headaches.

That doesnt mean these ones definitely will not cause headaches, but they may help a headache thats already begun, or it might just be something nice to smell, that is at least less likely to cause a headache.

These oils are:

4. Chamomile oil

5. Eucalyptus oil

There may be more oils out there that prevent headaches, or are used as a remedy to help headaches while theyre happening, but these ones are used the most for people who struggle with headaches and/or migraines.

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Can I Take Antihistamines For My Allergies

Antihistamines are usually safe for people who have asthma to use, but they can cause side effects. Some antihistamines cant be taken with certain other medicines. Like any other medicine, read the warnings and instructions on the label and check with your doctor before you start taking an antihistamine.

Management Of A Patient With Aspirin Triad

Aspirin and Prostaglandins

Management of asthma and rhinosinusitis in an NSAIDs-hypersensitive patient is similar to treatment of other forms of asthma and rhinosinusitis. However, there are several important additional treatment modalities to be considered when N-ERD is diagnosed3.

Avoidance of NSAIDs and use of alternative analgesics

Patient education and careful avoidance of ASA and other NSAIDs which are strong COX-1 inhibitors is important because COX-1 inhibitors can cause severe asthma leading to hospitalization in an intensive care unit and even intubation. Therefore, ideally, the aspirin-hypersensitivity should be confirmed by a challenge test.

In general three groups of NSAIDs can be distinguished based on their capacity to induce hypersensitivity reactions in N-ERD patients24, Table 1.

Alternative antipyretic or analgesic drugs, such as acetaminophen are preferred. Preferential COX-2 inhibitors, such as nimesulide and meloxicam, are tolerated by most, but not all, NSAIDs-intolerant subjects. Selective preferential COX-2 inhibitors, such as celecoxib or valdecoxib, are tolerated by almost all aspirin-intolerant subjects. However, oral challenge in the office is recommended to ensure that patients are able to tolerate COX-2 inhibitors.

Mangement of chronic rhinosinusitis and nasal polyposis

Management of asthma

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How Is It Treated

If you have been diagnosed with AIA, do not take products that contain aspirin.

In general, AIA is managed in the same way as other types of asthma. Three types of medicines are used to control asthma:

  • Quick-relief medicines, also called reliever, or rescue medicines. These medicines are used as needed to treat asthma attacks. They are not used on a regular, daily basis to prevent asthma symptoms. You should learn to recognize the symptoms of an asthma attack and take these medicines as soon as symptoms start. To prevent asthma attacks, you may need a different type of medicine called a controller.
  • Long-term control medicines, also called controller medicines. By taking this medicine regularly every day, it helps to control your symptoms. You will take these medicines every day, even if you are not having symptoms. They do not provide quick relief of wheezing in acute asthma attacks.
  • Steroid medicines, also called asthma controller medicines, because by taking them regularly every day, they help to control your symptoms. You will take these medicines every day, even if you are not having symptoms. They do not provide quick relief of wheezing in acute asthma attacks. Steroid medicines are similar to hormones made by your body. They block some of the chemicals that cause irritation and swelling in your airways. By lessening the swelling, you will have fewer symptoms and be able to breathe better.

How To Use Essential Oils For Asthma


Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of essential oils from plants for the improvement of physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

When it comes to how to use eucalyptus oil for asthma, diffusing it in the air is a great option. All of the oils I just mentioned can be used in an diffuser so you can breathe in the essential oil enriched air.

Are oil diffusers safe for asthma? Check with your doctor first, but many experts will agree that oil diffusers can be used with caution. Start off with just a couple of drops of oil to see how you do. You can use a single oil in a diffuser or combine multiple oils to create your own custom blend.

Other ways to use essential oils for asthma through aromatherapy include:

  • Inhaling oils through the nostrils directly off of a cloth or from the bottle.
  • Soaking in an oil-infused bath.
  • Rubbing oils directly onto the skin.
  • Receiving massage therapy that includes the use of essentials oils.

Oral Application

Before using essential oils for asthma internally, read labels carefully to make sure an oil is appropriate for internal use. There are many essential oils that can be ingested by the mouth however, it is critical to make sure that the oils you use 100 percent pure, therapeutic grade and certified USDA organic. Many oils on the market today are diluted or blended with synthetics that are unsafe for ingesting.

Topical Application

Possible Side Effects and Caution

Final Thoughts

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What Precautions Should You Take While Using Essential Oils

Here are some precautions that you must take to avoid the risks involved while using essential oils for Asthma:

  • Do not massage the essential oils directly on your skin as they are powerful and highly concentrated. Always dilute them with a carrier oil before applying externally.
  • Some people have allergic Asthma and can be allergic to essential oils. Therefore, such people should contact a physician before using essential oil for asthma attacks and treatment.
  • Some essential oils are so powerful that you cannot inhale them directly. Therefore, it is better to add them in a vaporizer or diffuser blend first.
  • People suffering from skin issues and ailments should only use essential oil for asthma, colds, cough, and other symptoms via aromatherapy.
  • Do a patch test on their elbow before using these oils.
  • Keep them away from your eyes and sensitive parts. Also, do not consume them as they are formulated for external use only.
  • How Is It Diagnosed

    Ibuprofen And Asthma Mechanism

    There are no blood tests or skin tests that will diagnose allergy to aspirin or NSAIDs. Your healthcare provider will ask about:

    • Your use of aspirin
    • How often you are having symptoms
    • Any other allergies or triggers

    The provider may refer you to an allergy specialist to see if you have other allergies.

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    Whats The Risk In Taking Ibuprofen If You Have Asthma

    If you have asthma, but arent aspirin-sensitive, you should be able to take ibuprofen as directed.

    If you do have aspirin-sensitive asthma, ibuprofen can trigger symptoms of asthma or allergy. Symptoms of severe allergic reaction usually develop within a few hours after taking the drug. Some of them are:

    • nasal congestion, runny nose

    If youre ibuprofen-sensitive, its important to scrutinize medicine labels carefully. Avoid products that contain ibuprofen, aspirin, or any other NSAID.

    Most people with asthma can safely take acetaminophen to treat fever or pain.

    Certain asthma medications block leukotrienes. These include zafirlukast , montelukast , and zileuton . Ask your doctor if these medicines affect your ability to take ibuprofen. Your doctor can also guide you on the safest pain relievers, potential side effects, and what to do if you have an allergic reaction.

    For frequent or chronic pain, your doctor may be able to provide alternate solutions based on the cause.

    If youve had a bad reaction in the past and accidentally take ibuprofen, contact your doctor right away. Seek emergency medical care or call 911 if you have symptoms of severe allergic reaction such as:

    • facial swelling

    Aspirin And Other Drugs That May Trigger Asthma

    Many people with asthma have sensitivities to certain drugs that can precipitate an asthma attack . If you have asthma, you need to be aware of which medications may be triggers. You do not need to avoid these medications unless you know they are asthma triggers for you. If these medications have never triggered your asthma, it is still best to take the medications with caution because a reaction can occur at any time.

    Below is a list of the most common medications known to trigger symptoms of asthma. However, if you are prescribed any medication that you think may be causing your asthma to worsen, discuss it with your doctor.

    Aspirin Sensitivity, Asthma, and Nasal Polyps. Some people with asthma cannot take aspirin or NSAIDs because of whatâs known as Samterâs triad — a combination of asthma, aspirin sensitivity, and nasal polyps. Nasal polyps are small growths that form inside the nasal cavity.

    This aspirin sensitivity occurs in about 30% to 40% of those who have asthma and nasal polyps. Many people with Samter’s triad have nasal symptoms, such as runny nose, postnasal drip, and congestion, along with asthma symptoms, such as wheezing, cough, and shortness of breath. Talk to your doctor about options other than aspirin and NSAIDs if you have this.

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    Air Fresheners And Scented Candles

    Scented candles and indoor air fresheners can make your house smell extra fresh, sweet, floral, or earthy but they may be doing more harm than good when it comes to your health, the ACAAI notes. “We know that the fragrances from air fresheners trigger allergy symptoms or aggravate existing allergies in a lot of people,” Dr. Tuck says. Perfume and flower scents are particularly likely to irritate sensitive airways, according to the results of research by a Swedish team published in the January 2016 issue of the International Journal of Environmental Health Research.

    — Additional reporting by Madeline Vann, MPH

    Are Essential Oils Safe

    NSAIDs and Heart Disease – Mayo Clinic

    Many people believe that natural products are always safe for use. While some plant extracts can be safe, you shouldnt assume that all of them are. In fact, many plants have varying effects on your body. For example:

    • Cumin oil: safe in food, but can cause blistering if left on your skin.
    • Citrus oil: safe in food, but has varying degrees of safety. Citrus oil is particularly harmful in cosmetics if you are in direct sunlight.
    • Peppermint: a mint that is used safely to treat upset stomachs, however, the pennyroyal variety of mint is toxic to your liver.
    • Wintergreen: a common flavor used in gum, food, and pain relief products. While used safely in small amounts, consumption of a large amount induces symptoms like an aspirin overdose.
    • Sage, Eucalyptus, and Camphor: while sage can be used in small amounts in food, large amounts of sage or any ingestion of eucalyptus or camphor can cause seizures.

    As you can see, natural occurring plant oils can be dangerous if not followed in a recommended manner. This is why many clinicians will discourage use of essential oils for treating illnesses, as there is very little scientific evidence to the benefits and risks associated with aromatherapy as a medical treatment.

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    How Is Aspirin Desensitization Done

    Aspirin desensitization must be done in facilities equipped to handle an emergency.2 Here is the process:

  • You will start with a very low dose of aspirin.
  • After about 3 hours, you will be given a slightly higher dose. The dose will be increased until you have a reaction.11 Symptoms of the reaction occur most often in the eyes or nose.2 Occasionally, you will notice symptoms in your airways, stomach, or skin.
  • The provider will treat your symptoms.
  • You will continue to receive that same dose of aspirin until you no longer react.
  • This process is repeated until you reach the maximum dose of aspirin.11 A typical maximum dose is 325 mg.2
  • Aspirin desensitization therapy can take two to four days. Sometimes a nasal NSAID is used to shorten the time it takes.

    After aspirin desensitization, you will need to take aspirin every day. Daily aspirin maintains the effect. After four days without taking aspirin, you will become sensitive to it again. If this happens, you will need to repeat aspirin desensitization therapy.

    Food Additives And Asthma

    Food preservatives, food colorings, and flavoring agents have been found to cause asthma attacks in some people, so make sure to read food labels. Sodium bisulfite, potassium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite, potassium metabisulfite, and sodium sulfite are all potential triggers. Sulfites are the most common, Zitt explains. “Some people have trouble with delicatessen meats that are high in nitrites, while others may experience asthma symptoms from monosodium glutamate or from yellow food coloring containing tartrazine. Still, he adds, the scientific evidence regarding some of these potential triggers remains in dispute.

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