Aspirin Allergy: Symptoms & Management
About Aspirin Allergy
Aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or NSAIDs. This medication is used to treat pain, fever or inflammation and is also sometimes given after heart attack to reduce the risk of death. The use of this medicine is wide and it is prescribed for a number of diseases. However, despite its common usage, there are many people who are allergic to aspirin. However, the reactions to aspirin are not always because of an allergy. Many people are simply sensitive to aspirin.
Symptoms of Aspirin Allergy
If you are allergic or sensitive to aspirin, you will experience some reactions in your body. Not just for aspirin, if you are allergic to aspirin, you are likely to experience and encounter some reactions for any NSAIDs for that matter. These reactions or symptoms will occur within a few minutes or few hours of taking the medicine. The common symptoms include –
- Runny nose
- Itchiness in skin
- Redness in the eyes or bloodshot eyes
- Watery eyes
- Shortness of breath
- Hives or itchy rashes
- Swelling of face – especially lips and tongue
- Stuffiness in the nose
- Cramps in the belly
Sometimes the condition is extremely serious and leads to anaphylaxis. This, though rare, is a life-threatening condition.
Also, if you are allergic or sensitive to aspirin and also have chronic sinusitis, nasal polyps, urticarial or chronic hives or even serious asthma problems, the allergy will worsen the symptoms of these conditions. In fact, having these conditions make you more prone to be allergic from aspirin and other NSAIDs. Research studies show that if you have these conditions, you are 10-30% more likely to be allergic from aspirin or other non-aspirin NSAIDs; whereas, only 1% of people without these conditions are ate risk of being allergic to aspirin and other NSAIDs.
Managing Aspirin Allergy
Avoid Aspirin and other NSAIDs:
If you already have asthma or chronic sinusitis and other conditions that increase your risk of aspirin allergy, avoid taking aspirin or other NSAIDs altogether. In fact, the doctor will tell you not to take these medicines and the right medications to go for instead.
Check every Medicine if it has Aspirin:
Often many of the medicines meant for flu, cold or stomach problems contain aspirin or other NSAIDs. Check for them before you take them. If they contain aspirin, do not take it.
Desensitization to Aspirin:
A very recent method of treating aspirin allergy or aspirin sensitivity is desensitization. In this process, the patient is kept under close medical supervision and is given very small dosage of aspirin every day. The dose is slowly increased to make sure that the person adjusts to the dose and the reactions. Over time, the sensitivity and the allergy disappear. Also, this small dosage and aspirin intake also helps in treating asthma problems and sinus problems, if the patient has any.
In case the person is allergic to aspirin and experiences reactions and symptoms, call emergency medical cell at once. Here it must also be mentioned that having sinus or asthma or other such chronic conditions does not necessarily mean that you will have allergy from aspirin. Still, if you have these conditions, it is better to avoid this medicine. Also, if you have had an allergic bout in the past and are not sure if aspirin caused it or it was caused by some other medicine or allergen, you should not take risk and tell the doctor about your allergic encounter.