Alcohol allergy also known as alcohol intolerance is a rare condition where a person experiences unpleasant reaction after consuming alcohol. It is a genetic disease where the body fails to break alcohol. It is caused by the absence of enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase and mostly common in people of Asian origin.
The immune system reaction to allergen or irritation varies from one person to another. And therefore, the alcohol allergy symptoms may also differ in different people. Some people are able to end irritations beyond certain levels ie until it becomes allergen. Alcohol allergic reaction rarely occurs among people with strong physique and if it does occur, it is usually mild. Additionally, the reaction is depended on the immunity of the person
This condition is a rare occurrence in the US but it is a common occurrence in Asian countries. People with allergic reactions of any kind are at more risk of developing alcohol allergy compared to those who do not have an allergy. Alcohol intolerance can cause an instant adverse effect on an individual as it enhances the production of histamines but reduces the capacity of the body to break it down.
Alcohol allergy is one of the rare conditions that are poorly understood. Its symptoms are not usually mild. They are normally very severe and require full medical attention. Most of its symptoms are almost the same as those of food allergy. Here are some of its symptoms
1. Flushing reaction; the absence of enzyme Aldehyde dehydrogenase that usually assists in breaking down alcohol can cause the flushing response.
2. Low intolerance; Only two peg of alcohol is enough to cause allergic reaction. Pure alcohol as little as 1ml is enough to trigger stomach cramps, breathing difficulty, rashes etc.
3. Hives and swelling; alcohol can trigger underlying disease in people with Angioedema and Chronic Urticaria.
4. Existence of sulphites; sulphites are normally used in alcohol preservation. It is normally added to act as an additive to prevent it from getting bad. This may cause anaphylaxis and hives
5. Non allergic rhinitis; Alcohol can also cause the nose blood cells to dilate causing nasal symptoms and production of mucus. This may result in sneezing, running nose and nasal congestion
Apart from the above mentioned symptoms other symptoms such as vomiting, heart palpation, sensation of heat, itchiness etc. my also be experienced. A person may also experience tingling feet, vertigo and numbness. In some cases the symptoms of alcohol allergy are confused with hangover.
It is important that you see a doctor whenever you experience an allergic reaction.