Tuesday, January 3, 2012

About Allergies: Did You Just Develop an Allergy to Alcohol?

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Symptoms / Diagnosis



From Daniel More, MD, your Guide to Allergies
If you're reading this blog, there's a good chance that you had a good time on New Year's Eve. Maybe a really good time. But you probably didn't have a great time on New Year's Day, likely as a result of some sort of a reaction to alcoholic beverages. Most people have experienced a hangover from drinking too much alcohol (and not enough water), but could you be experiencing an allergic reaction to alcohol? There are a variety of different types of reactions that a person could experience from alcohol, from a variety of different causes. Some of these could include an allergic reaction (or at least mimic an allergic reaction), non-allergic intolerance, or could simply be an expected pharmacologic effect from too much alcohol. Whatever the cause is, people who experience these reactions want to know how to deal with it -- and how to prevent it from happening again.

Allergic Reactions to Alcohol
We've all enjoyed alcoholic beverages, and many of us have experienced the unpleasant side effects of enjoying these drinks a bit too much. But imagine if you couldn't drink alcohol -- not even a little -- because you experience uncomfortable reactions as a result. There are many reasons for these reactions, with allergies being only a small part of the causes of these reactions.

Could I Be Allergic to Sulfites?
Sulfites or sulfate agents (in the forms of sodium sulfite, sodium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite, potassium bisulfite and potassium metabisulfite) are common preservatives used in various foods and medications. Sulfites have been used for centuries, mainly as food additives, but can also occur naturally in foods such as fermented beverages and wines. Sulfites are known to increase asthma symptoms in approximately 5% of asthmatics, particularly in adults with severe disease. Numerous well-controlled studies show that some asthmatics can have severe asthma symptoms with eating sulfite-containing foods/beverages or inhaling sulfite fumes or vapors.

Our Readers' Experiences with Alcohol Allergy
Many people have asked me whether or not it is possible to be allergic to alcohol. The answer is yes. Symptoms can range from flushing to nausea to itching to shortness of breath. If you have an alcohol allergy, share your experiences with having a reaction. How do you deal with it?


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This newsletter is written by:
Daniel More, MD
Allergies Guide
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