he term alcohol allergy is often referred to as alcohol intolerance rather than allergy. The immune system of different people responds differently to irritations. And thus the symptoms of alcohol allergy may also differ. Some people are enough sensitive to tolerate the irritation after certain limits (until it becomes an allergen). Among those who have a strong physique, even if allergic reaction occurs, it would be mild. All depends on the immunity of the victim.
Alcohol allergy occurs very rarely in the United States and it occurs more commonly in the Asian countries. Those people who suffer from allergic reactions are more prone to alcohol allergy as compared to those who do not. Alcohol intolerance can have an immediate adverse effect on the body as it increases the production of histamines but decreases the body's ability to break it down.
One of the most common symptoms of alcohol intolerance that is seen among those from oriental background is flushing, increased heart rate and reduced blood pressure symptoms. This is sometimes known as oriental flushing symptoms. The idea of alcohol allergy has been poorly understood. The symptoms of alcohol allergy are not generally mild. It is very severe and this is one such allergy which should not be considered very lightly.
The symptoms of alcohol allergy are quite similar to that of food allergy. Following are some of the symptoms of alcohol intolerance:
1) Low Intolerance: Just 2 pegs of alcohol are enough to trigger the allergic reaction. Pure alcohol as low as 1 ml is more than enough to evoke rashes, breathing difficulty, stomach cramps, difficulty breathing etc.
2) Flushing Reaction: Deficiency of the enzyme Aldehyde Dehydrogenase that helps in the breaking down of alcohol when consumed, can lead to flushing reactions. This reaction may include nausea and rapid heartbeat.
3) Non-Allergic Rhinitis: Alcohol consumption may cause the blood cells of the nose to dilate resulting in the production of mucus and nasal symptoms. It may result into nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, etc.
4) Presence of Sulphites: Sulphites is used for preserving the alcohol. It is added as an additive to the foods to prevent it from spoiling. This may result in the development of hives and anaphylaxis.
5) Hives and Swelling: Consumption of alcohol may aggravate the symptom of the underlying disease in people suffering from chronic urticaria and angioedema.
Other than this, there are a number of other symptoms such as headaches, heart palpitations, vomiting, itchiness; sensation of heat etc. An individual might also experience numbness, tingling feeling and vertigo. In some cases the symptoms of alcohol allergy may often be confused with hangover. It is always best to consult a doctor if you suffer from any allergic symptoms.