Sulfites are used in food and medicines like wine, dried fruits as preservatives. For some the body does not accept sulfite and experience allergic reactions. This is known as sulfite allergy. Usually people with asthma experience severe allergic reactions. Some of the symptoms are rashes, difficulty in breathing, stomach cramps, vomiting and fever. This allergy should be identified and treated in its initial stage if delayed it will result in serious consequences. Therefore it is advisable to consult a medical expert and treat it immediately.
Sulfites are used in the food for the following reasons:
- It reduces spoilage of food by bacteria
- It conditions the dough in pizza crust and frozen pie.
- It keeps the fruit, vegetables and seafood fresh for a longer time and avoids the food from turning brown.
- It act as a bleach for maraschino cherries and hominy
- Slows down the growth of bacteria as wine is being fermented.
Symptoms of Sulfite Allergy
The symptoms of sulfite allergy are:
- Hives, rashes like red bumps
- Itchy feeling or burning sensation
- Swelling of mouth and face
- Stomach cramps
- Tightness in throat and chest
- Irritation in mouth and throat
- Nauseated feeling
- Bronchial spasms
- Difficulty in breathing
A person may also become allergic to other food items after experiencing sulfite allergic reactions.
Anaphylaxis: Sulfite allergy leads to fatal reactions known as anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis may also show other symptoms including the above mentioned symptoms. They are as follows:
- Pain in chest or tightness
- Increase in heartbeat
- Tightness or swelling of the throat
- Severe difficulty in breathing
- Cramps and pain in abdomen
- Shocked, low blood pressure, dizzy feeling, may lose consciousness.
Sulfite Allergy Testing
Few cases of sulfite allergy have being diagnosed through skin testing. In this allergy is diagnosed after thorough study of the allergic reactions once the person consumes sulfite containing foodstuffs and medicines. This particular test should be carried out under strict supervision of a trained and experienced doctor.
Treatment of Sulfite Allergy
Sulfite allergy should be identified and treated as soon as possible. If it is delayed then the allergic reactions can become serious and become fatal. Therefore it is advisable to consult a medical expert, diagnose and treat it immediately. Doctor may advise the following if allergic reactions occur:
- Medication: If allergic reactions occur then antihistamines can be taken. It will help to ease the symptoms of allergy. It can be taken after being exposed to sulfite; however it is not effective to treat severe allergic reactions. Also it cannot help to prevent an allergic reaction.
- Epinephrine autoinjector: When a person suffers from anaphylaxis then one has to consult the medical expert immediately. If a person is already an anaphylaxis patient then that person should always carry extra doses of epinephrine drug.
One should be careful to consult a doctor to manage and avoid reoccurrence of allergic reactions of sulfite.