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How to Tell If You’re Allergic to Alcohol

These are red, itchy welts on the skin which appear soon after consuming alcohol. It’s essential to remember that antihistamines don’t treat the symptoms, can you be allergic to alcohol and you should not continue drinking if you have alcohol intolerance. Alcohol intolerance symptoms are unpleasant but rarely actually dangerous.

They’re especially dangerous to someone who has asthma or another respiratory problem. Benadryl, though commonly used as an antihistamine, causes drowsiness and is not safe to take with any amount of alcohol. If you notice any of those symptoms after consuming a small amount of alcohol , you may be intolerant. ALDH2 works by turning acetaldehyde into acetic acid, otherwise known as vinegar, which is safe for your body. Morozova, Tatiana V.; Mackay, Trudy F.C.; Anholt Robert R.H. “Genetics and genomics of alcohol sensitivity.” Molecular Genetics and Genomics, January 7, 2014.

Acute alcohol sensitivity

An alcohol allergy is a rare toxic reaction to alcohol that can be fatal in rare cases. Often, what people consider to be an alcohol allergy is, in fact, alcohol intolerance. If you start to experience swelling while drinking, be warned. Due again to the reaction from histamines, it’s not uncommon to experience swelling when you have an alcohol intolerance. The primary difference between an alcohol allergy and an alcohol intolerance is the reaction each produces. Alcohol allergies are caused by the immune system and intolerance is a reaction from the digestive system.

What alcohol is best for alcohol intolerance?

Low in histamine and free from sulphites — the chemicals that cause intolerance and allergies — gin is the best choice out of all alcoholic beverages. Although drinking gin won't cure your alcohol intolerance, it has much lower levels of histamine compared to beer and wine — keeping your intolerance symptoms mild.

Histamine is a chemical that occurs naturally in your body. It’s also found in many foods and beverages, especially fermented products. For example, aged cheese, smoked meats, sauerkraut, wine, and beer tend to be high in histamines. Your healthcare provider will ask you about the symptoms and reactions that occur after you drink alcohol. It can show if you are allergic to an ingredient in alcoholic beverages.

More health news + info

One study of 948 individuals found that 7.2% self-reported wine intolerance. It is unclear if that number reflects the general population. An inherited metabolic disorder means you got this condition from your parents — they each passed down a mutated gene that resulted in this disorder. Even if your parents don’t have the condition, they can pass it to you.

can you be allergic to alcohol