Signs and Symptoms of a Sulfite Allergy

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When to suspect that you may have a sulfite allergy

Sulfites are found in many different foods. They are a common additive that does not usually cause problems for most people, but according to the Cleveland Clinic, sulfites may cause mild wheezing to serious asthmatic reactions. Usually adults are affected by consuming sulfites in beer, wine, or other foods or drinks. Asthmatics can even be affected by breathing in the fumes from sulfites. These chemicals are frequently found in a variety of medications as well.

Many people are sensitive to sulfites

Although most people who have a reaction after eating, drinking, or breathing sulfites have a sensitivity and not a true allergy to this substance, it is possible to have a sulfite allergy. Your allergist can perform a blood test, and if you have a sulfite allergy, you will have antibodies to sulfites present. A skin test is sometimes done in the allergist's office, and if an allergy to this substance exists, a bump will develop on the skin. In some cases, doctors survey what a patient has eaten. They then evaluate how many times an allergic reaction occurs after eating foods that contain sulfites. If the patient develops an allergic reaction every time that a food containing sulfites is eaten, it is then presumed that the person has a sulfite sensitivity or allergy.

Common symptoms of a sulfite sensitivity

If you consume one of the foods or drinks that contain sulfites, you might develop skin problems like a rash, hives, or itchy skin. Some people have nausea, stomach cramps, or diarrhea after eating or drinking items with sulfites. Another reaction can be respiratory problems, including coughing, wheezing, or tightness in your chest. The serious reaction, anaphylaxis, has also been reported in a few people who have had a serious allergic reaction to sulfites.

Sulfites are found in many foods, drinks, and medications

You may not know what is causing an allergic response if you have a sulfite allergy. That is because sulfites are added to other foods to preserve them. Many people wonder if they are allergic to one of the fruits contained in fruit punch or another mixed juice drink. In reality, it may be the sulfite that is causing the allergic reaction. If you experience an allergic reaction after eating shrimp or lobster, your first thought might be that you have developed an allergy to these foods. That may or may not be the case since sulfites are also used to preserve sea food.

Other foods that often contain sulfites

A few other foods that have added sulfites to preserve them are pickles, olives, and salad dressings. Dried soup mixes or rice mixes often have this chemical added to them as well. if you love to eat French fries, be sure that the ones you eat are not made with peeled potatoes that a restaurant buys with sulfite to preserve them. Syrup, fruit toppings, crackers, pizza crust, and cookies also have sulfites added to them in many cases. Even your beer, wine, and soft
drinks frequently have it added to them to preserve their quality.

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