Asthma, we have all heard of it and most of us probably know someone who has it. But do we really understand what it is and how severe it can be?
In short, people with asthma have sensitive airways in their lungs. When exposed to certain triggers their airways narrow, making it hard for them to breathe (ref: www.asthma.org.au).
Signs of asthma:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- A dry, irritating, persistent cough, particularly at night/early morning, with exercise or activity
Every person’s asthma is different. People will asthma don’t always have the same triggers, nor will they react to every trigger listed below. Common triggers may include:
- Colds and flu
- Cigarette smoking and exposure to this smoke (passive smoking)
- Inhaled allergens (e.g. pollens, moulds, animal dander and dust mites)
- Environmental factors (e.g. dust, pollution, wood smoke and bush fires)
- Changes in temperature and weather
- Certain medications (e.g. aspirin)
- Chemicals and strong smells (e.g. perfumes, deodorants and cleaners)
- Emotional factors (e.g. stress)
- Some foods and food preservatives, flavourings and colourings
Most of the above triggers are fairly self explanatory but what about the last one? There are so many food preservatives, flavourings and colourings around – so which ones are the ones to be careful of? Here are some to be mindful of but for a full list go to our Additive Search page and type in ‘Asthma’:
- 102 (Tartrazine), 104 (Quinoline Yellow), 123 (Amaranth), 124 (Ponceau 4R), 132 (Indigotine), 142 (Green S), 151 (Brilliant Black), 155 (Brown HT), 160b (Annatto), 163 (Anthocyanins)
- 200 (Sorbic Acid), 201 (Sodium Sorbate), 202 (Potassium Sorbate), 203 (Calcium Sorbate), 210 (Benzoic Acid), 211 (Sodium Benzoate), 212 (Potassium Benzoate), 213 (Calcium Benzoate), 216 (Propylparaben), 220 (Sulphur Dioxide), 221 (Sodium Sulphite)
As you can see, there are a lot of food chemicals (additives) that can trigger asthma, and we have listed about half of them here. Can you imagine trying to avoid all those additives all the time?! We do have a few resources on our website that could help make shopping a little easier.
If you would like to learn more about asthma and what you can do to help someone you know who suffers from it, head over to the Asthma Foundation for more information!