Alcohol Allergy And Symptoms Of Alcohol Allergy

By | August 4, 2015

Alcohol allergy symptoms

It is a very well known proverb that if there is life, then there is the world. And for you to enjoy your life you should be healthy. However, if somehow you get unhealthy

You cannot enjoy your life at its fullest Therefore you should take good care of your health. You should avoid the food from which you get allergic. Here in this article we will review symptoms of alcohol allergy.

Allergens in alcohol:                                                                                                      

Alcohol allergies are very rare but the reactions can be very severe.  Most people believe that alcohol allergy is actually the reaction to an allergen in the alcohol. These allergens cause the appearance of alcohol allergy symptoms commonly occurring allergens in alcohol include:

  • Barley.
  • Hops.
  • Yeast.
  • Rye.
  • Wheat.
  • Gluten
  • Histamines which are often found in red wine.
  • Sulfites that are often found in white wines.

People often call the alcohol intolerance as an alcohol allergy and vice versa. People who have the true alcohol allergy should avoid drinking alcohol.

Alcohol allergy symptoms

Causes of alcohol allergy:

Study in alcohol allergies is very limited. It has mostly focused on the  aldehyde dehydrogenase which is also known as ALDH2. It is the enzyme that digests the alcohol and turns it into the acetic acid or the vinegar in the liver. A person who has the vinegar allergy may have severe reaction after drinking the alcohol. Study shows that the gene change or mutation called a polymorphism is more common in people of Asian descent. It inactivates the enzyme ALDH2. It is then impossible to turn the alcohol into the vinegar. The condition may be referred to as an ALDH2 deficiency.

The use of the alcohol can also trigger the allergic reactions or it irritates existing allergies. The Danish study found that for every additional alcoholic drink consumed in one week the risk of seasonal allergies went up 3 %. Researchers believe in the fact that bacteria and yeast in the alcohol produce the histamines. These caused alcohol allergy symptoms such as itchy eyes and the stuffy nose.

People that suspect that they have had the reaction to alcohol; they should immediately see an allergist.

Symptoms of alcohol allergy:

Alcohol allergy symptoms or symptoms of alcohol allergy are caused by the allergens that we discussed earlier. Now we will proceed with the symptoms of alcohol allergy.

Even a small amount of the alcohol can cause the symptoms of alcohol allergy in those people with true alcohol allergies. This can include following alcohol allergy symptoms:

  • Stomach.
  • Cramps.
  • difficulty in breathing.
  • Collapse.

Reactions to the ingredients in the alcoholic beverages will cause some different alcohol allergy symptoms. For example it can cause:

  • A person who is allergic to sulfites can experience hives or the anaphylaxis
  • A person who is allergic to histamines may experience nasal swelling and congestion
  • alcohol which is high in sulfates may increase the asthmatic symptoms in those with asthma
  • alcohol can increase the reaction to the food allergies

Other symptoms of alcohol allergy related to ingredients found in the alcoholic beverages may include:

  • headaches.
  • nasal congestion , runny and stuffy nose.
  • abdominal pain.
  • nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Heartburn.
  • rapid heartbeat.
    symptoms of alcohol allergy

Rashes and Alcohol Flush Reaction

Some people may experience the face reddening or flushing when they drink the alcohol. The alcohol flush reaction is more common in those of the Asian descent, due to the polymorphism. The Facial flushing is not the allergic reaction rather it is just a side effect of the alcohol intake in some people.

According to the 2010 study published in the BMC Evolutionary Biology, gene change or mutations are  responsible for the polymorphism and is linked to  the domestication of the rice in the southern China several centuries ago. People who are with the changed gene are at the lower risk for the alcoholism as compare to others, largely because of the unpleasant reactions that happen after drinking the alcohol.

While the reddening of the face can happen to the people with the ALDH2 deficiency, some persons develop red, warm and blotchy skin after drinking the alcoholic beverage. The symptom is often related to the sulfur dioxide. The Sulfur dioxide is commonly used to process and help to preserve alcohol. This agent may trigger the reactions to the allergens such as wheat or sulfites. The Histamines and the tannins found in the wine may also cause the rashes in some of the people.

symptoms of alcohol allergy


The only way to avoid symptoms of alcohol allergy is to avoid the alcohol. Switching to a different drink may solve the problem if you are allergic to the particular ingredient. Antihistamines over the counter or prescribed may be helpful to treat the minor alcohol allergy  symptoms in some people. People who have had  severe allergic reaction to certain foods should wear the medical alert bracelet and ask their doctor in case if they need to carry an emergency epinephrine called as adrenaline auto injector like an EpiPen in case of a severe allergic reaction.

Risk factors

Risk factors for the alcohol intolerance or some other reactions to alcoholic beverages include:

  • Your being of Asian descent increases your risk of developing alcohol allergy.
  • If you are having asthma or hay fever that is anallergic rhinitis increases the risk of developing alcohol allergy in you.)
  • I you are having an allergy to grains or to another food it increases your risk of developing alcohol allergy.
  • If you are having Hodgkins lymphoma, you may have increased risk of developing alcohol allergy.

Prevention from alcohol allergy:

You may prevent development of alcohol allergy in you by avoiding exposure or contact with risk factors. Or avoiding the factors that cause these risk factors to occur.


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