Even though alcohol is a substance that is poisonous to the human body, most people do not experience allergies or other harmful or annoying reactions to it when they ingest it. However, there are many people who experience allergy-like symptoms whenever they drink alcohol. While pretty uncommon in drinkers, it does make sense for the body to react negatively because the body recognizes this foreign substance as a threat to some organs, given the damage that it can do to them. Continue reading below to find out whether you can be allergic to alcohol and the signs of a reaction to look out for.
What Is Alcohol Intolerance?
Also known as alcohol intolerance, an alcohol allergy refers to the immediate and uncomfortable reactions that accompany ingesting alcohol. This condition is entirely genetic, and the most common symptoms of alcohol allergy are sneezing, a stuffy nose, and skin flushing. The interesting thing about alcohol intolerance is the fact that these conditions are rarely entirely due to alcohol but rather the other ingredients in one’s drink. This could be the wheat, grains, preservatives, or other chemicals in the beverage.
Am I Allergic to Alcohol?
You can be allergic to alcohol, and one way to determine whether you’ll have this reaction to alcohol (if you’ve never drank before) is by looking at your family. If you have a blood relative with an allergy to alcohol, then you might develop the same thing.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction to alcohol occur because the body can’t break down the substance efficiently. The only way to avoid an allergic reaction is to avoid alcohol completely.
Alcohol allergy symptoms to look out for include:
- Facial redness (flushing)
- Red, itchy skin bumps (hives)
- Worsening of pre-existing asthma
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Low blood pressure
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach discomfort or pain
Alcohol allergy isn’t necessarily a true allergy. Rather, what seems to be an intolerance for alcohol might be a reaction to something in the alcoholic beverage, such as chemicals, grains, or preservatives. The safest way to determine what allergies you might have and how to best treat them is by going to a doctor.
Furthermore, while some may have mild reactions to alcohol, there are people who suffer from severe alcohol intolerance and symptoms of alcohol allergy so intense that it may be difficult for them to breathe or function normally. In these cases, it’s crucial to see a doctor and determine the root cause of the allergy, as it may not just be alcohol, and the best way to cope.
Is There a Beer Allergy?
As mentioned above, there rarely is an allergy to alcohol, but there are some people that have allergies to the ancillary ingredients in alcoholic beverages. The most common allergies associated with beer are those related to wheat and grains. Someone that is allergic to these would have a beer allergy, but only because of these ingredients, which are an integral part of the beverage. Further, people that have Celiac disease could have a negative reaction to beer because of the inclusion of gluten in most beers.
Is There a Whiskey Allergy?
Whiskey is an alcoholic beverage that is less likely to cause allergic reactions than beer because of the lowered gluten content. However, there are some whiskeys that come with flavorings or additives that contain gluten, so it is best to be wary of the other ingredients in your cocktail to avoid any allergies that come with drinking whiskey.
More About Banyan Philadelphia
Other than detailing the symptoms of alcohol allergy, our Philadelphia drug treatment center helps patients in a variety of ways. Our facility is dedicated to helping our patients regain control of their lives, thanks to the power of individualized treatment and our dedicated professionals. Our scope of treatments includes:
- Partial Hospitalization Programs
- Intensive Outpatient Programs
- Stabilization Programs
- Faith in Recovery