Article by Katherine Murphy
Sulfites have been used for more than two thousand years, mostly as a preservative in both drinks and food. They are also used to sanitize fruit, such as wine grapes or food found in salad bars. Sulfites can bleach foods as well, as with potatoes and corn.
About 1 in 100 people have sensitivities to sulfites. And among these people, about five percent are clinically allergic to sulfites. As a result, the FDA has even required a sulfite warning to be placed on wine bottles containing sulfites.
How do you know if you are sensitive or allergic to sulfites? Signs can include headaches, rashes, cramps and lightheadedness. Serious reactions to sulfites are possible, including a life threatening anaphylactic reaction.Interestingly, those with asthma, liver problems or other allergies are most susceptible to sulfite reactions. But anyone can be affected by ingesting sulfites.
Sulfites are found virtually everywhere today. But there are things you can do to avoid sulfites. Most importantly, if you are allergic, do not eat in restaurants or places where food is prepared for you. Never eat food from a salad bar, which is probably the most common source of sulfite containing foods. Additionally, be sure you have your Epi-pen with you at all times.
When you cook at home, prepare your meals with organic foods. Stay away from processed and canned foods. Do not eat dried fruits, and remember that alcoholic beverages probably contain sulfites. And finally, ask your doctor or pharmacist if your vitamins or medications have been preserved with sulfites.
If you experience a mild reaction to sulfites, drink lots of water. You may also reduce your symptoms by taking Pepsid AC. Benadryl may give you relief as well.
If you believe you are allergic to sulfites, make an appointment with your physician to be tested, and immediately begin to avoid sulfites.
Katherine owns the food allergy siteAllergies, Intolerances and Food. Learn about everything from a gluten allergy to a latex allergy. She also provides information on allergy relief at Allergy Topics.