Salicylate sensitivity or aspirin free!!!

For living with asthma is not only about taking inhalers and tablets but also watching my diet. Asthmatics tend to be more sensitive to aspirin and NSAID’s (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs). This is not however the case for everyone. I have been allergic to aspirin for as long as I can remember. I have an anaphylactic  reaction to aspirin if I were to take it. We found this out as a small child. As a kid it was fine I took paracetamol and everything was hunky dory. After I suffered with pnumonia when I was 18 and my asthma went all to pot and I was diagnosed as a brittle asthmatic I started finding I was allergic to more and more food and couldnt work out why I was having reactions to really random things such as some fruit and veg.

I spoke to my Dr about this and was straight away put on a salicylate free diet. If I am honest I didn’t think much of it at the time. I thought it would be like someone who is allergic to nuts and just avoid them. How wrong was I. I find this so much harder. As a result of being allergic to salicylates I am allergic to nuts, herbs, spices, fruit, veg,  a lot of drinks. I had no idea how restrictive this would be. My Dr handed me a booklet of information about what I could and could not eat and what foods contain what levels of salicylate.  The initial idea was to put me on a diet which meant I was having a low amount of salicylate in the hope that i would manage to desensitise myself to it as my consultant wanted to desensitise me to aspirin but we foind I was too allergic to do this. Slowly over the years I have been on a lower and lower amount of salicylate.

I think this part of my asthma is actually the hardest to live with as it impacts my life every day and every time I am hungry and even thirsty. Going out for dinner is a nightmare and staying at friends houses is just a no go area.

When I moved back home and changed consultant I told him i was allergic to a lot of food. he did a blood test on me to see what i was allergic to. To my surprise it came back negative. I wasn’t allergic to anything. He then explained that i was actually allergic to the food itself but the chemical in the food and that it wouldn’t always show up. For a fleeting moment I thought I could stop the diet.

If I am honest it makes a huge difference avoiding salicylate. If i do eat something with a low level in it I get very wheezy and go bright red in the face and slightly puffy. I also feel like my lungs are filling with fluid. Kind of gurgly feeling. It is horrible. So I don’t eat those foods. However sometimes I cannot avoid them and eat a small amount and other times I just want to stuff the diet and eat what normal people eat. I only do this if I am feeling pretty healthy and only do it very occasionally as it is abuse to my body as I am making it ill.

Something I learned only recently is that salicylate is also in beauty products. which I think explains why when I sue some moisturiser my skin burns and goes red. I have been to the dr to get cream from them as I cant be bothered with reading ingredients of moisturiser!!!!

As this is something that effects me all the time I figured I would blog about it as I find it a really hard diet to have as it is so restrictive and kind of boring. I have been on it for 6 years now and still hate it! I am hoping that by posting this blog maybe others who read this might have similar diet problem and share some tips??

This is the foods I can eat! Note how few fruit and veg! I love my fruit but slowly but surely it is becoming more restrictive!These are just a selection of the foods that are non no’s!!!!

This is a portion of my diet sheet and the tail end of the fruits that I cant eat. There are all the different figures of how much salicylic acid is in each thing according to how much makes a portion. I find it gets confusing.

4 thoughts on “Salicylate sensitivity or aspirin free!!!

  1. Oh, joy, the issues of dealing with special diets. I know what you mean, as I’m allergic to dairy, and found that out about 5-6 years ago. Although no testing has shown anything, I know I react to dairy. I’m also allergic to nuts, and very likely chocolate. Eggs are something that my body doesn’t tolerate right now. And last fall I discovered that I’m allergic to Ibuprofen.
    It’s not easy having to watch my diet sooo closely, and even harder when away at college. Finding others like me is reallllllly helpful, and makes it easier. I’m blessed to have friends and a prof at school who will say no for me if I’m tempted to have any dairy.
    I do see from one perspective that not being able to eat many foods, I eat healthier, and am less able to snack and so maintain a healthy weight without much of a problem at all.
    I too dread going out, and either will eat before going or after I go, or I’ll take along food I can have and explain to the waiter that I have severe food allergies and would rather not risk a reaction. This usually is fine, but I still hate having to say it, and so I only go out to eat with friends if I have to. I go for the company or activity, not the food.
    Finding others with diet restrictions is very very helpful in maintaining your diet restrictions and not getting burned out by it. Sharing with others who understand what I go through is a tremendous help to me. People kind of freak out when they see the list of things I can’t have, but I’ve had to get used to that… though I’m still working on that.

    1. wheezytux

      Hey Nice to meet you. I am sorry about your food allergies. It is a nightmare but I guess it is better for us to avoid it all!!! Even if it is very tempting to eat!!!! I have had a wee squint over at your blog and added it to my blog roll so will keep following you. Hope your are well x

  2. Lindy Dawson

    Hi wheezytux
    There are a lot of us out there!
    Some of us are on
    http://www.salicylatesensitivity.com
    There is lots of info and a forum to share your woes and ask others questions :o)
    I am salicylate and sulphite sensitive – I don’t get asthma but lots of other reactions and have to carry an epipen just in case. My diet is even more restricted than yours due to the sulphites..
    Hope to meet you on the forum..
    Lindy xx

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