Common Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction to Sulfite

Sulfites are generally used as preservatives in foods and medications. Sulfite agents, a form of sulfite, are also used for the same purpose. Unfortunately, some people are allergic to sulfite.

Researchers are unaware why sulfites may cause allergic reactions in some people. For many, sulfites are completely harmless. Of course, everybody is different, and people who are allergic to sulfites are just known to have developed antibodies to defend against them.

As with many allergic reactions, the body goes into a defensive mode to kill the allergen. Antibodies are released that cause the blood vessels to dilate, the bronchioles to constrict and the heart to speed up. As a result, it may become harder to breathe.

Sulfites rarely cause anaphylaxis. Of course, with any allergic reaction, frequent exposure to the allergen can cause worse results. Therefore, patients who are known to be allergic to sulfite should avoid consuming any substance with them in it because of the increased risk for anaphylaxis.

Hives and swelling are common signs of an allergic reaction to sulfite. Severe cases cause a drop in lung function. People who have sulfite injected into their bloodstream may experience symptoms and extreme symptoms much faster than people who ingest sulfite.

Because sulfite is commonly used as a preservative in many foods, it can be hard to determine whether or not you truly are allergic to sulfite. The allergic reaction is often misdiagnosed as an allergy to the food that was consumed prior to the reaction.

A skin test does not usually work to determine sensitivity to sulfite, though some people have performed a skin test with accurate results. Typically, diagnosing sensitivity to sulfite is determined by performing an oral metabisulfite challenge. The patient is monitored closely, keeping a close eye on vital signs and lung function.

However, there are times when it is possible to diagnose the sensitivity by linking to the foods that contain sulfite after the person had adverse reactions to them.

If you suffer adverse reactions to certain foods, you may actually be allergic to sulfite or sulfite agents. Only an allergist is able to determine this.