• Charlene Charlene
    September 23, 2008
    allergy to sulfur
    Charlene Charlene
    September 23, 2008

    Hi, I recently had a suspicious mole removed from my back, located right under my bra strap. The day of the removal, I was asked by 2 different nurses and the Dr(dermatologist) if I was allergic to anything and I told them I was allergic to sulfur. The removal went fine and a couple of stitches were used. I was given a bacitracin/zinc/polymycin/sulfate ointment to put on the spot with a simple band aid over it and to change it twice a day. The 2nd nite, I woke up with severe itching in the area and checked the tube of ointment and sure enough discovered it said "sulfate" on it. I'm assuming that means it contains, sulfur, right? After spending a miserable nite, after my husband woke in the morning, I had him scrub the area good with soap & water and just applied vaseline. It feels somewhat better but bothers me still.  I called the dermatologists' office and told them my concern and the nurse told me twice, "don't worry, you're not going to die"! I am a diabetic & don't heal well,  and my husband after looking at the site this morn. said it looks a little red and "bubbly" around its" edges. Do you think I'm getting an infection? I hesitatie to call the same Drs. office again and get a "flip" answer. Would like to know what you think. Thanks! Charlene



  • Kathleen MacNaughton
    Health Pro
    September 25, 2008
    Kathleen MacNaughton
    Health Pro
    September 25, 2008

    Hi Charlene,


    I'm guessing you have a sulfa allergy, rather than a sulfur allergy, but please correct me if I'm wrong. Sulfa allergy is fairly common and involves a sensitivity to a particular class of antibiotics containing sulfonamides, such as Bactrim, Septra and Pediazole. There are other drugs such as Celebrex that contain similar compounds that may trigger the same sort of allergic reaction.


    According to WebMD, however, one should not assume that if you have a sulfa allergy, you will also be allergic to sulfur or anything with sulfites or sulfates, as they are not closely related, despite the similarity in their names.


    So, your skin symptoms are probably not an allergic reaction to the ointment you were using. Still, it may be wise to refrain from using it. However, I would also NOT apply Vaseline to your wound. Simply washing it gently each day with warm water and soap should be sufficient. You can probably apply an unscented lotion around the edges, if necessary.


    Signs of infection include pain, redness that radiates outward from the wound, greenish yellow pus-like discharge and a fever. If you notice those symptoms, you should definitely call your doctor. In fact, any time you have a concern about your health, you should call. If you can't get satisfaction from your doctor's staff, then you should insist on talking with the doctor directly when she/he is available. That is your right.


    To your health,



  • Laura B. October 13, 2008
    Laura B.
    October 13, 2008

    Hi Charlene,


    If you told the dermatologist that you were allergic to sulfur and were prescribed an ointment that contained a sulfur derivative, that says very loudly to me that the doctors and staff WERE NOT LISTENING to you and therefore should NOT be trusted to give you any more medical advice.  So, after reporting to that doctor what his nurse said ("you're not going to die!"), which is inexcusable, I would immediately seek out another dermatologist and have your mole diagnosed again.  Suspicious mole's are nothing to mess around.  If you don't know of another dermatologist, ask your internist for a recommendation or, better yet, ask your friends who they use and like.  Word of mouth has always worked best for me.  Good luck and PLEASE do not wait to see if the mole gets better on it's own.  It needs PROPER medical diagnosis and attention ASAP.

  • hands33 April 09, 2009
    April 09, 2009



    I don't know what to think.  I've been on HCTZ, a BP diuretic for over 25 years and hve been unhealthy for all of it.  Rashes, asthma like conditions, bloating and weight gain as easy as 1-2-3 and weigh 3 lbs less after being out of bed a few hours, not due to dieting.  50 mg of HCTZ seemed like it was not working at all.


    After reading more about sulfa/sulfite/sulfanomide and what is the difference, I'm quite sure I have at least a couple of them.  Grapes caused coughing and wheezing that scared me.  I began to research again and found your note. 


    My Mom was allergic to penicillin and I read that is similar to my allergy/intolerance. 


    The worst part is I read sulfa drugs/reactions case deep, thick scarring of the skin.  I have had so much trouble with scar tissue over-growth for many, many years.  My sinus' had to be redone over and over due to scarring.  My abdominal surgery ended up with lots and lots of scar tissue, which I recently had surgery just to release some of it so I can walk better.  It is in my bowel now, thank you very much. 


    No, the worst worst part is that after suggesting to my doc and pharmacist that maybe a change would be good, they all told me - we still prescribe HCTZ to those with sulfa allergies.  That might be ok for most/some of the people, but I would have like to have a choice in the matter.  Be your own advocate!  I have to.


    After two days, I feel much better already.  The headache and swelling are better and even my head felt swollen inside - after the grapes too.  My "bucket" of sulfa gets full and I ache and feel swollen all over.  It is a horrible feeling.  I never knew grapes were plodded with sulfa as a preservative.  Gees. 


    In my case, I am allergic to HCTZ and if I can help one person to think about changing to another drug for BP (like Lasix I'm on) and it helps them - thank God. 



    • Roldan
      July 05, 2010
      July 05, 2010

      lasix is a sulfa drug as well so that is confusing to me


      i was prescribed hctz as well, but only took it once, thank G-d, and THEN found out it was a sulfa drug and im allergic to sulfa as well.


      i totally agree with you saying you'd at least like a CHOICE in the matter. My dr. said to stop it but hasn't told me what to replace it with. YEESH.

    • Layne
      June 24, 2014
      June 24, 2014
      Sulfa and sulfur are not the same. I apologize but if you were allergic to all sulfur containing products I'm afraid the cysteine bond between two strands of insulin produced by your pancreas would have long ago killed you. Cysteine is one of the 20 foundation amino acids and does, much to your dismay, contain a sulfur component. Sulfonamide (sulfa) is a sulfur component inside of a 5 member ring including 4 carbons and a nitrogen with a double bonded oxygen constituent. With all that said, a sulfa allergy manifests itself as a skin shluffing rash called Steven Johnson syndrome....not bloating and a headache. READ MORE
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