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Yes! Alcohol can cause allergies too

Yes! Alcohol can cause allergies too

September 19 | By Rachael

Though alcohol allergies are rare, the reactions can be as serious  as to require a doctor’s intervention or even hospitalization. It is commonly mistaken as alcohol intolerance or an unforgettable hangover. In comparison to alcohol allergy, alcohol intolerance is more common and less severe. However, the symptoms of alcohol allergies are often misinterpreted as the signs of alcohol intolerance due to increased similarity. Given the serious consequences of alcohol allergies, it is essential to be aware of the precautions to be exercised to avoid such problems. Since alcoholic beverages are made from a complex mixture of grains, chemicals and preservatives, there are potential allergens, such as in wheat, barley, rye, hops, yeast, grapes, etc., that may cause an allergic reaction. Red wine is more likely to cause an allergic reaction than any other alcoholic beverage. Beer and whiskey are also prone to cause reactions. People suffering from an alcohol allergy should completely avoid alcohol.

Though most of the risk factors are not definitive in nature, there are that make a person susceptible to alcohol allergies. Some of them are as follows:

  • Asian descent
  • Asthma or hay fever
  • Allergy to grains or other food allergies
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL)

It is also not wise to drink alcohol when on certain medications. Besides exercising such precautions, it is also essential to learn the ways to identify the warning signs of alcohol allergies. Some of the signs have been discussed in the current article.

Key symptoms of alcohol allergy

It doesn’t take too long or too much to trigger an allergic reaction to alcohol. A mouthful of beer or two sips of wine are enough for rushing a range of allergic symptoms as follows:

  • Alcohol flush reaction: This is also commonly known as the Asian glow (although not necessarily affecting only Asians or people of Asian descent). People who experience this reaction see their face, chest and neck into bright red, which indicates inability of the body to metabolize alcohol efficiently. One is not able to process the toxic acetaldehyde into less harmful molecules that can be flushed out of the system due to the absence of the enzyme Aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2). The flush reaction is accompanied by dizziness or light-headedness.
  • Anaphylaxis: This is a serious allergic reaction that is characterized by the eruption of rashes or hives that turns the entire body hypersensitive. This is a sure sign that the person is allergic to a group of compounds in alcohol known as sulfites. Of all, asthmatic patients especially should be wary due to the increased chances of the worsening of the allergic reaction.
  • Swelling of nose and mouth: A puffy face after drinking alcohol could indicate an allergic reaction to histamine, a compound that is generated by bacteria and yeast in alcohol. A swollen nasal passageway could constrict the respiratory tract that can lead to difficulty in breathing and may require emergency hospital visit.
  • Stomach cramps and nausea: Although alcohol is not the most soothing substance for the gastrointestinal tract, agonizing stomach pain accompanied by diarrhea and nausea points to an allergy to histamine in alcohol. An allergy to histamine is known to swell blood vessels and cause severe stomach cramps.
  • Elevated heart rate: The above-mentioned symptoms like dizziness or flush reaction is also accompanied by an increased heart rate and some of the other allergic symptoms. This symptom could be debilitating as the person experiencing it may feel the need to sit down for a while and catch his or her breath.

Choose treatment over ignorance

Although alcohol is widely accepted during celebrations by all cultures, it is not long before a person becomes addicted to alcohol. Alcohol addiction not only affects physical and mental health, but also disrupts personal relationships and life. Many lives have been lost after a single session of drunk driving. Therefore, it is essential to undergo an effective treatment and counseling to overcome drinking problems.

Opting treatment for an alcohol addiction is one of the biggest decisions one can make. If you or your loved one is fighting alcohol addiction, contact the Colorado Alcohol Addiction Help for guidance on the best facilities offering alcohol treatment in Colorado. Call at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 592-9261 or chat online with our counselors to know about some of the finest alcohol addiction treatment centers in Colorado.

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