Asthma, wine and covid-19

Coronavirus warning from experts

People with moderate to severe asthma may be at higher risk of getting very sick from covid-19, according to the US Center for Disease Control (CDC). 

Dr Norman Swan at the ABC says asthmatics should have their asthma under control: “Are you using the blue puffer a lot? If you are, you're not on the right treatment, you've got asthma and you need to be on a preventer medication, which is an inhaled steroid to get it under control…” (*See contrary expert views at the end of this blog)

Our readers say

When families go on an elimination diet to help a child with behaviour problems, any asthmatics in the family are likely to improve as well - because the food chemicals that can be associated with asthma are the same.

Sulphite preservatives (220-228) are the additives most associated with asthma

For adults, sulphites in wine and beer can be a major source of these additives.


“I have been avoiding the food additives highlighted on your card for 10 months and have had no significant asthma …I moved to Belgium in 2000… Despite a colder and damper climate I had no asthma…During this time I drank very little wine…I consumed far fewer food additives just by being there…On returning to New Zealand in 2004, the asthma started to return…Your book helped me to identify the problem as bad food additives“ – from story [373]

Why don't asthmatics notice the connection between their asthma and foods?

People usually only make a connection between foods and symptoms if the reaction occurs within 30 minutes. A few asthmatics will react to sulphites with immediate asthma but for most asthmatics, sulphites will cause irritable airways with no obvious symptoms.

When a child or adult with irritable airways is exposed to a known asthma trigger such as:

  • a cold or flu (or other virus)
  • exercise
  • cold air

they will have asthma. If you avoid the sulphites - and other irritating food chemicals - that person can be exposed to asthma triggers without developing asthma. See 33 sec video from a parent


The good news 

To reduce sulphites in wine, beer, fruit juice and other drinks you don’t have to stop drinking them (unless you are sensitive to sals or amines) – you can just use a few drops of a product like Pure wine or SO2GO from any bottle shop.


The other good news

According to our reader reports, many asthmatics will need to avoid more  than just sulphites – maybe other food additives and/or natural chemicals such as salicylates - but they say the results are worth it!

3 reader reports

“I suffered terribly from additive-induced asthma from the age of 10. It took a couple of decades to realise that artificial food additives were THE cause of my condition...Over 23 years, not a single doctor ever once asked if my condition might be due to food…Thanks mainly to your wonderful website I have gone from 20 puffs a day to not touching Ventolin or any medication for over a year now” - Mark, story [524] and [1080]

“I could never drink wine because it always left me with a heavy chest, flushing and I would feel every breath was an effort…I never linked the asthma to the sulphites…I know now the worst foods for me are sausages…, wine, cold meats, certain mueslis with dried fruit. I have eliminated all sulphites from my diet for the last 8 months…I am now off my asthma preventer and feel great…” - Yvette, from story [685]

“I have been on a low salicylate diet for 9 years and it has dramatically improved my life. I am no longer plagued by asthma if I keep to a low salicylate diet- what a relief to be able to breathe. Other benefits are - never catching colds and flus; no constant phlegm, blocked nose and hayfever; no headaches at all instead of daily ones…I am now full of energy and am able to live my life fully” – Rosemaree from story [1265]

See many more reader asthma success stories

More info

Our asthma factsheet 

Intro to food intolerance

How to start failsafe eating

* There are recent contrary views from experts but even the conservative WHO says that 20-30% of asthmatic children react to sulphites while Australian research has found that up to 65% of asthmatic children are affected by sulphites.

Joomla SEF URLs by Artio