Allergic reaction to pickles

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Allergic reaction to pickles is most often caused by mold or sensitivity to sulfites. Sulfites are chemicals used as preservatives in pickles and other cooked and processed foods. Experts estimate that about 1% of people are sensitive to sulfites.

Pickles and vinegar are food sources that contain molds that can cause allergic reactions in some people. Keeping a food diary and observation of symptoms can help your doctor identify the cause of allergy.


1. Overview
2. Sulfite sensitivity
3. Allergy to mold
4. Other possible causes
5. Tests and diagnosis
6. Treatment and prevention

Sulfite sensitivity

Sulfites are used to prevent food and drinks discoloration. Besides pickles, they can be found in canned or frozen vegetables, potato chips, shrimp, dried fruits, jams, beer, wine, fruit juices and some medications.

Sensitivity to sulfites may develop at any age and can cause symptoms such as asthma, wheezing, and more serious reactions, including anaphylactic shock. If a person has shortness of breath accompanied by swelling of the throat and weak but rapid pulse, emergency care is needed.

Allergy to mold

Allergy to mold is common and can cause reactions after inhalation of airborne mold pores or after eating foods that contain mold component. Some foods that may contain mold include cheese, mushrooms, cream, meat and fish (smoked or pickled) and dried fruit.

Mold allergy symptoms are wheezing, difficulty breathing, runny nose, itchy eyes and skin rash or hives.

Other possible causes

Cucumbers and other vegetables can cause oral allergy syndrome. Most people, however, develop this syndrome only as response to raw vegetables, which after being processed are no longer a danger.

Also, a person may be allergic to food additives used in pickles composition, such as nitrates. If a person has an allergic reaction to gluten should avoid pickles containing malt vinegar.

Tests and diagnosis

When a person considers that suffer from allergies should talk to her doctor to describe the symptoms and record the foods that may cause an allergic reaction. It may be necessary to perform allergy skin tests or blood tests.

During skin testing the skin will be punctured and will introduce a small amount of allergen under the skin. If the person is allergic this will develop a rash.

Thanks to blood tests the doctor can analyze antibodies and the body’s response to an allergen. Sulfate sensitivity is usually diagnosed with a challenge test. Allergist will gradually administrate sulfur doses over a period of two hours and will closely monitor possible reactions.

Treatment and prevention

May be recommended antihistamines or other medicines obtained without a prescription. Nasal corticosteroids can also relieve mild symptoms of an allergic reaction to pickles.

If a person has asthma, the doctor may prescribe inhalers that will include bronchodilators. If there is a risk of anaphylaxis or allergic shock, it is recommended that the person always have on hand an injector with epinephrine. Substance is injected in the thigh at the first sign (friends and family should know to use it, if necessary).



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