An allergic reaction to alcohol typically occurs as an allergy to the ingredients present in various types of alcohol or on the substances that the alcohol is combined with when served as cocktails.
The inability to metabolize alcohol can trigger flushing that strikingly resembles a rash, especially in some ethnic groups. Since an allergic response often worsens with increased exposure, a doctor should be consulted for allergy testing if the individual develops a rash after consuming alcohol. If you will register in one of the first aid courses today, you can learn how to manage an allergic reaction.
Alcohol intolerance can trigger flushing of the face and nasal congestion that is quite similar to an allergic rash. This is quite common among Asians and alcohol intolerance typically occurs due to the lack of an enzyme known as aldehyde dehydrogenase which is responsible for breaking down the toxins in alcohol.
Pounding heartbeat, nausea and vomiting can also occur. This type of alcohol intolerance is often genetic. Histamine which forms due to fermentation or the brewing process can also trigger a reaction. The histamine is the same substance that is released once the body encounters an allergen.
What are the possible allergens?
Individuals who have allergies to the grains utilized in creating alcohol such as hops, grapes, wheat, rye or barley or those who have allergies to sulfites utilized as preservatives in wine can suffer an allergic reaction if alcoholic beverages are consumed.
Drinks that contain tonic water or juice can also trigger an allergic reaction with rashes. Based on a study conducted, rashes can occur among those who drink alcohol beverages that are mixed with tonic water which contains quinine.
What are the symptoms?
Aside from the rashes, individuals who are allergic to alcohol or to the components present in alcoholic drinks can suffer severe reactions that involve facial swelling, shortness of breath, tightening of the throat, low blood pressure, hives and even collapse. During a severe reaction or anaphylaxis, it can be life-threatening and would surely require medical care right away.
Once and individual develops an allergic rash or facial flushing due to alcohol intolerance, the individual should avoid alcohol or the substance that the individual is allergic to. In case an individual is allergic to a particular type of alcohol, the individual can drink other beverages but if the intolerance is inherited, even a small amount of any type of alcohol can instigate a reaction.
Antihistamines can help reduce the symptoms during a mild allergic reaction, but severe reactions would require adrenaline in the form of an auto-injector that the individual always bring wherever he/she goes. The doctor will prescribe this medication. Just remember that this is not a backup plan for drinking alcoholic beverages. Always bear in mind that avoiding any type of alcohol will help prevent an allergic reaction.