Aspirin Allergies

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aspirin-allergyAspirin Allergies

In 1829, scientists discovered a compound called salicin in willow plants which gave pain relief to humans. This new discovery was called aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) which works by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins which are chemicals found in the body which are necessary for blood clotting and sensitizing nerve endings thus blocking pain.

An allergic reaction to aspirin can range from mild to severe symptoms. Aspirin allergy symptoms include the development of hives or itching, nasal congestion, coughing,swelling of the lips or tongue and asthma. Severe reactions may include swelling of the face, stomach aches and difficulty breathing.  Symptoms will usually occur within 60 minutes after taking aspirin and can last up to a couple of hours.

A more severe and potentially deadly reaction known as anaphylactic shock can occur in rare cases. This is why it is paramount to seek medical help immediately if swelling of the face or neck occurs.

Aspirin is widely known as a heart attack prevention medicine since it will tend to thin the blood making it less likely to clot and cause a heart attack. However, there are reported illness symptoms with the increase of aspirin use in recent years. Severe stomach aches are widely reported in people who take it daily. It has also been reported to increase the likelihood of developing nasal polyps if taken daily for extended periods of time.

There is also increased risk of taking aspirin if a person has the common flu and can lead to a more serious condition known as Reye’s Syndrome in children and adults. Aspirin can also inhibit the drainage necessary during flu episodes and can actually lead to pneumonia developing as a secondary condition.

There are alternatives to aspirin for each intended use and should be discussed with a health professional.

About the author:

Michael Marcus, MD
Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Flu and Aspirin Dangers

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