What you need to know about alcohol allergy

Individuals who enjoy drinking alcoholic beverages such as wine and beer usually end up with itchiness, flushed face, hives as well as nausea and vomiting. Even though alcohol allergy is considered as a rare type of allergy, the individual might be allergic to the ingredients present in wine or beer or simply have intolerance to alcohol. Those with Asian descent are more likely to lack a particular chemical that is responsible for breaking down alcohol, thus they must be careful with the amount that they consume especially during social events and gatherings.

How alcohol allergy occurs

An allergic reaction to alcohol is considered uncommon but individuals who have asthma and those with Asian descent are prone to reactions which typically manifests within a few minutes or hours after consumption of alcohol. Some will feel an itching or tingling sensation in and around the mouth, lips, tongue or the throat can even swell. In some cases, the alcohol can cause skin rashes, difficulty breathing and lightheadedness.

How the immune system reacts

Alcohol allergy

In some cases, the alcohol can cause skin rashes, difficulty breathing and lightheadedness.

Take note that an allergy to drink or food can trigger the immune system to respond. On the other hand, the immune system mistakenly identifies them as a threat to the body, thus releasing immunoglobulin E antibodies to fight off the perceived threat. If you want to learn more how allergies develop, click here.

Determining the exact source

This would require analyzing other ingredients present in the drink. A high percentage of individuals are allergic to sulfites which is an ingredient present in grapes or wines that helps prevent discoloration. If an individual is allergic, it involves wheezing and a runny or stuffed nose.

Some individuals who have asthma can also experience an allergic reaction to alcohol. Other foods that contain sulfites include vinegar, dried fruit, pickles, sauerkraut and certain types of shrimp.

Flushed cheeks

Individuals who lack or deficient in the chemical alcohol dehydrogenase which is responsible for dissolving alcohol can experience severe flushing. The individual will also get intoxicated at a quicker rate and suffer from nausea and vomiting. In such cases, the individual should determine if he/she have relatives with alcohol problems or if he/she has Asian descent, thus he/she might have a genetic disorder in which this chemical is absent.

In some cases, individuals who get flushed might be taking certain medications such as niacin or eczema creams. Other possible medications include disulfiram which interferes with the metabolic breakdown of alcohol.

Those who have rosacea which is a skin condition can also become flushed when drinking alcoholic beverages. If the individual has very red cheeks but the skin around the eyes are pale and blushes easily as well as the tendency to break out on the lower face, he/she has rosacea. It is best to consult a doctor for a diagnosis.


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