In Food Allergy and Intolerance (Bloomsbury1989), Jonathan Brostoff says that you should look to many other causes besides dust and mites. These include infections (as many as 40 per cent of cases can be caused by them); indeed, many children can be allergic to the viruses, as well as infected by them. (Pattemore et al in Clinical Exper Allergy 1992: 22:325-336). Another aggravating factor is too much salt in the diet and monosodium glutamate, mainly found in tinned and packet soups, Chinese food and other convenience foods. A New England Journal of Medicine study (April 25 1991) demonstrated that parental smoking can contribute to elevated levels of airway responsiveness (ie, bronchial constriction) early in life. Don’t discount food as a potential trigger. Dr Freed finds that many patients with asthma are intolerant of dairy products.
Indeed, allergy specialist Dr Keith Mumby (see p 7 ) finds that food is often a more potent trigger than are environmental factors. Chicken and wheat were the frontrunners in provoking symptoms in a random sampling of 16 patients in Dr Mumby’s practice.