Sulfa allergy, also known as sulfonamides allergy, are more common these days. Sulfonamide is a para-amino benzoic acid derivative, which can be found in many medicines like antibiotics and diuretics, which are often used to treat infectious diseases. The sulfa allergic reaction can be mild to severe and treatments depend on the severity of the symptoms.
Symptoms of Sulfa Allergy
1. Skin condition. With an allergic reaction to sulfa comes some discomfort to the skin, such as rash, irritation, hives, and in some instances patients complain of having sensitivity to light or photosensitivity.
2. Respiratory symptoms. Along with this type of allergic reaction you can also experience some breathing problems and wheezing.
3. Lung problems. If you are allergic to sulfa drugs and have respiratory problems, then you can experience pneumonia like symptoms with the allergic reaction.
4. Blood disorder. With a sulfa allergy you can have reduced red and white blood cells and blood platelets.
5. Anaphylaxis. With a severe case, you can experience nausea, vomiting, and shortness of breath, irregular heartbeats and loss of conscious. You need to get to the emergency department immediately, as this is a life-threatening emergency.
6. Other symptoms. There are some extremely rare cases associated with sulfa allergy where the patient can have problems, such as hepatitis, kidney failure, liver damage, and problems with their internal organs.
Treatment for Sulfa Allergy
1. Treat the allergies
Step one: Discontinue all medications that are affecting the patient’s symptoms and start the medications that are necessary to treat the allergic reaction. Antihistamines can be taken for mild cases and for more severe cases, such as an asthma attack a bronchodilator is given.
Step two: Patients with anaphylaxis need to be rushed to the emergency department for care. There they will be treated with epinephrine (adrenaline) by injections and they will be watched further to make sure that nothing else occurs. In less severe cases a corticosteriod can be used.
2. Avoid certain foods
While being treated for a sulfa allergic reaction, it is important to avoid certain foods, as they may contain sources of sulfa, and this had halted your ability to heal. These foods are as follows:
- Canned foods
- Potatoes (dehydrated)
- Onions (pickled)
- Pizza dough
- Sauces and gravies (packed preservative foods)
3. Avoid certain medications
With an allergic reaction like this it is vitally important that the patient completely avoid certain medications, as they can worsen their symptoms. These medications are as follows: