Asthma UK community forum

Sulphites and asthma

Need some information regarding sulphites and asthma. At the weekend after drinking white wine (something I don't usually do) I woke up feeling like I was choking. I had two puffs of ventolin which did partially relieve it but then had a coughing fit which eventually casued me to vomit. I almost immediately felt better and within the hour was back to normal. The following morning it was as if nothing had happened. I have heard about a relation between sulphites which appear in certain food colourings and asthma attacks. Does anyone have any similar experiences and/or advice and information about this.


5 Replies

yes, I think there is something in it. I always like to eat packs of dried mixed fruit, but on the list the main preservative is Sulphur Dioxide, and it took me a while to make the connection, and i'm still not 100% certain, but I do find as a rule that my asthma get worse after I eat lots of dried fruit.


Strange the things that set you off. Young's Scampi is a new one for me.


Hi Buxton

Some asthmatics can be sensitive to sulphites and sulphates resulting in difficulties similar to those you experienced at the weekend. Sulphites and sulphates are commonly used as preservatives in processed foods and drinks but they can be found in allsorts of things! I do know of quite a few people who are sensitive to sulphites in wine and as long as they choose to drink something else they experience no other problems. However I'm sensitive to sulphites, sulphates and salicylates and have to avoid them as much as possible to avoid running in to problems with asthma and chronic urticaria. If you think that wine might be the problem try avoiding it for a while and perhaps have a chat about it with your GP. I've bumped up an old thread about sensitivity to wine it's called Red Wine. Hope that helps!

woody-som - sulphur dioxide found in dried fruit can cause problems for some asthmatics but I think that you can buy some dried fruits which don't contain any preservatives! It's a long time since I've looked at dried fruits in the supermarket as my diet is a bit limited!

Lucy :-)


Buxton did you ever wheeze as a child when drinking Ki-ora at the cinima? That was chock full of sulphities. I can manage a small amount, so tend to steer clear of cheap wine and all red wine.



Yes there is supposed to be a link - sulphites are supposed to be labelled on all packaging under the 'allergy' section on the packet (the part where they write 'warning, contains nuts')

The difficulty is that they are a 'natural' preservative and very widespread. You get them in wine because they are used to preserve the grapes after they are picked and before the wine making process. Lots of kids sweets (even the 'natural' ones) contain them.


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