Alcohol Allergy

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Unlike the name suggests, alcohol allergy is a kind of a rarely encountered condition where a person is prone to a reaction not so pleasant after alcohol consumption. It’s a genetic condition in which a human’s body is deemed with failure to complete the process of breaking down of alcohol. Normally, it is caused by the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase’s absence. Most common in the Asian people or people of possible Asian origin, it might affect people all over the globe. Thus, it has also coined the term Asian Alcohol Allergy.

Alcohol allergy


The reaction of the immune system to the allergens or the type of irritation is variable from person to person. It implies that the alcohol allergy symptoms might differ in a different kind of people with varying factors like race, sex or body metabolism. Many people are capable of enduring these irritations more than a required threshold. These types of reactions seldom occur amongst people who have a relatively well build physique. In addition, the reactions also depend upon a person’s own kind of immunity.

More the person has some kind of allergic reaction condition, more he or she is prone to alcohol allergy as compared to those who are normally allergy free. Alcohol allergy is able to cause some instant effects on a person because they enhance the histamines production and further reduce the capability of a person’s body to break down the contents of alcohol.

Symptoms of Alcohol Allergy

The symptoms of alcohol allergy are not usually easy going or mild in nature. The symptoms associated are severe, and they need instant attention of a medic. The major symptoms are associated with food allergy and are similar in nature. Some of the symptoms are:

  • An occurrence of flushing reaction – Since the enzyme Aldehyde dehydrogenase is absent; there might be a flushing response in breakdown of alcohol.
  • Intolerance is low – Even as low as two pegs of alcohol are very much sufficient in causing an allergic reaction. If the amount of alcohol is 1 ml, and the alcohol is pure, the results can be same as a single peg of alcohol inducing stomach cramps, difficulty in breathing, skin rashes and so on.
  • Swelling of body – Alcohol might be the cause in triggering of some underlying diseases in patients suffering from angioedema and also chronic urticaria.
  • Problems related to sulphites – Sulphites are heavily used to preserve the alcohol. It is added for acting as a preserver to stop alcohol from getting bad. This might further result in anaphylaxis.
  • Rhinitis without allergy – Alcohol might be able to cause the blood cells of the nose to dilate which can further result in nasal symptoms and mucus production. This normally results in sneezing, running of the nose and congestion of the nose.
  • Other symptoms – Symptoms like strong heart palpations, heat sensation, itching, headaches, reddening of the skin might also be felt by the patient. Vertigo, tingling of the feet, and numb feeling might also be experienced along. In some cases, the symptoms of alcohol allergy are confused with those of a hangover which should never be done.