What are Alcohol Hives?
The alcohol allergy is a common condition affecting adults and children. It causes symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose, coughing up of phlegm or blood and sometimes even vomiting. People suffering from alcohol allergies have an increased risk of developing other health problems including liver disease, heart attack or stroke. These risks increase if the person does not get treatment immediately after they experience these symptoms.
Symptoms of Alcohol Allergy:
Sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose, coughing up phlegm or blood. Symptoms may occur within minutes to hours after drinking alcohol.
They usually begin at night and last only a few seconds but can continue for several days afterwards. The symptoms are similar to those caused by pollen allergies (such as hay fever) but much worse due to the fact that the alcohol is absorbed through your skin rather than inhaled.
Physical Effects of Alcohol Allergy:
People affected by alcohol allergy often develop redness, swelling and itching all over their bodies. The allergic reaction is very painful and can cause death if left untreated.
Most people with this condition do not realize it until the symptoms become severe enough to affect daily life. Even then, many people do not seek medical attention because they believe that the problem will go away on its own.
Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Allergy:
These allergies can be fatal if left untreated. If not treated, the immune system will continue to attack the alcohol which could lead to death.
Alcohol allergies are very serious and should be diagnosed by a professional physician right away.
Alcohol Skin Rash Pictures Alcohol hives are small, itchy red bumps or welts that show up on your skin after you’ve had alcoholic drinks.
Allergies to alcohol are different than alcohol intolerance. Alcohol intolerance does not involve the immune system; it’s the result of your body having difficulties breaking down alcohol in the liver.
Like gluten and other food allergies, an allergic response creates an overabudance of histamine. This causes alcohol hives. Alcohol hives are not contagious and they will go away when you stop drinking.
Diagnosing Alcohol Allergies:
Doctors can easily determine whether or not you have an alcohol allergy with a skin test. A skin prick test involves using a needle to insert trace amounts of alcohol into your skin.
If you are allergic, you will develop redness at the site within a few minutes.
Getting Rid of Alcohol Hives:
If you’ve been exposed to alcohol, your doctor may prescribe an epinephrine injection. This is the best way to get rid of alcohol hives quickly.
The epinephrine will stop an allergic reaction in its tracks. You can also take antihistamines such as diphenhydramine and cetirizine to reduce the swelling and itching. These are available over-the-counter and work well for most people.
Alcohol Allergy Treatment:
If you have this condition, your doctor will most likely recommend that you stop drinking alcohol altogether. This is because the symptoms become even worse with repeated exposure.
If you absolutely must drink, then your doctor may give you an epinephrine injection to take with you in case of an allergic reaction.
Complications of Alcohol Allergies:
It’s important to stay on top of your alcohol allergy. Alcohol hives can be very painful and the rash can spread to your throat and upper body.
If left untreated, the hives can cause difficulty breathing which may lead to death. This is very rare and can be easily treated by taking an antihistamine.
The most dangerous time for alcohol allergies is during an alcoholic binge. Since alcohol affects judgment, people with this condition often forget to take their antihistamines or incorrectly take them.
This could cause a fatal reaction. If you have this condition, it is very important that you avoid alcohol binges altogether. Also, it’s a good idea to see your allergist before any big event where you may need to drink since you may need an epinephrine injection in advance.
Alcohol Allergy Treatment
There is no cure for alcohol allergy, but it can be managed. The most important step is to avoid all alcohol.
It’s also important to see your allergist before any events where you might need to consume alcohol. You may need an epinephrine injection to bring you out of anaphylaxis. Your doctor can also give you medication such as antihistamines in case you come into contact with alcohol by accident.
Living with Alcohol Allergies
If you have this condition, you will most likely have your first allergic reaction after you’ve been drinking. This can be scary, but it’s important that you realize what is happening and get to the nearest hospital.
It’s also a good idea to let your friends know about your condition so that they can help you out if you fall unconscious.
If you have a food allergy, you may feel like you are limited in what you can eat and drink. However, most of the time there are simple substitutions you can make.
There are many non-alcoholic drinks you can choose from when going out. You can also learn to make your favorite cocktails with alcohol substitutes.
Alcohol allergies can be scary at first, but if you know what to do, you can easily manage your condition. Most of the time, an allergic reaction can be treated with a trip to the emergency room.
If you have any doubts about your condition, talk to your doctor.
Sources & references used in this article:
Sensitivity to isopropyl alcohol by E Ludwig, BM Hausen – Contact Dermatitis, 1977 – Wiley Online Library
Contact allergies to cosmetics: testing with 52 cosmetic ingredients and personal products by J Tomar, VK Jain, K Aggarwal, S Dayal… – The Journal of …, 2005 – Wiley Online Library
Inverse association between periodontitis and respiratory allergies by N Friedrich, H Völzke, C Schwahn… – Clinical & …, 2006 – Wiley Online Library