Red Dye Allergy – Causes and Treatment

Dyes are added to food and snacks to create color and texture, but they can result in an allergic reaction. Red dye is commonly added to foods such as ice creams, crackers, cheese, and lollipops. Kids are most vulnerable for red dye allergy as many snacks use red dye. After eating a food, people can have eczema, hives, swelling, runny nose, and nasal congestion as a result of red dye allergy.

Red dye allergy can be triggered due to red food coloring known as carmine. This type of coloring is derived from dried cochineal bug, which is found in South America. Another red dye which can cause allergy is the red dye #40 which is used in cosmetics as well as foods.

Symptoms of Red Dye Allergy:

Red dye allergy can result in eczema, hives, swelling, and nasal congestion. It can also cause indigestion, difficulty breathing, and can aggravate asthma. In rare cases, it can result in anaphylactic shock, which is a life threatening allergic reaction. To stop the progression of anaphylactic shock, an administration of Epinephrine is need immediately.

Allergy Testing:

If you suspect that you have red eye allergy, you can consult an allergist for allergy testing. He/she can conduct skin prick test or blood test (RAST) to check if you have red dye allergy. However, red dye allergy through allergy testing might be difficult to determine.

Preventing Red Dye Allergy:

If you suspect red dye allergy, you can also follow elimination diet. This involves eliminating the suspected food which contains the red dye. If your allergy resolves after eliminating the suspected food, you can say that you have allergy.

To prevent red dye allergy, you would have to avoid all foods containing red dye. Reading the food labels and inquiring about the ingredients used when eating out can help you to prevent allergy to red dye.

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