Updated: 4/9/2024

Stevens-Johnson Syndrome or SJS is a serious and potentially life-threatening skin reaction that is usually triggered by certain medications or infections. In this condition, the immune system mistakenly attacks the skin and mucous membranes, leading to severe blistering and peeling of the affected areas. While prescription drugs have been shown to cause this devastating condition, it’s important to note that food does not cause SJS. Let’s take a closer look at the factors that may trigger Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.

Contrary to some beliefs, the food you eat cannot bring on any variants of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, even if you’re prone to Erythema Multiforme or EM – or worse are living with EM and don’t realize it. While it is true that food stock, slaughter cattle, chickens, and turkeys raised for human consumption may have been fed antibiotics at some point in their lives, ingesting these animal products does not pose a risk for developing SJS. The same applies to vegetables grown in manure fertilizer from these animals. Trace amounts of antibiotics or fertilizers in food have not been linked to the development of SJS or the exacerbation of EM into more severe forms.

So, what can a person do to minimize their risk of developing SJS? The most important step is to be aware of the medications that have been associated with this condition, such as certain antibiotics, anti-seizure drugs, and pain relievers. If you have a history of drug allergies or have experienced any unusual skin reactions to medications in the past, it’s crucial to inform your healthcare provider before starting any new treatment.

Additionally, prompt treatment of infections, particularly those caused by certain bacteria or viruses, can help reduce the risk of developing SJS as a complication. If you notice any signs of a severe skin reaction, such as widespread rash, blisters, or fever, seek medical attention immediately.

While choosing antibiotic-free meats and pesticide-free vegetables from local suppliers is a great way to support sustainable farming practices, it is not necessary for preventing SJS. The same applies to dairy products and eggs. However, if you have concerns about the potential health impacts of antibiotics or pesticides in your food, you can always do the legwork to find suppliers that meet your preferences.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with SJS, it’s essential to work closely with your healthcare team to manage the condition and prevent complications. In some cases, legal action may be warranted if the condition was caused by a medication that did not adequately warn of the risk of SJS. If you believe this may apply to your situation, don’t hesitate to reach out for a free consultation to discuss the merits of pursuing legal action.