What does it mean to have a beer allergy?
The term “beer allergy” refers to a group of symptoms that are common among those with an allergic reaction to beer. These symptoms include:
• Irritability (nervousness) or restlessness when exposed to light, sound, smell or taste of alcoholic beverages such as wine, beer or liquor.
• Difficulty concentrating; difficulty remembering things; feeling tired; nausea and vomiting.
These symptoms may occur at any time during the day or night, but they tend to become worse in the evening hours and decrease gradually throughout the day. They usually disappear completely by morning. The severity of these symptoms varies from person to person, depending on their sensitivity level and other factors such as age, gender, body type and diet.
Although many people with a beer allergy experience only mild symptoms, others develop severe reactions which can lead to life-threatening complications. If left untreated, these reactions can result in death. Alcoholic drinks contain large amounts of sugar and fat, so even small quantities of them can cause a significant rise in blood sugar levels. This results in insulin resistance and leads to diabetes mellitus (type 2 diabetes).
Even though the exact cause of a beer allergy is not known, it seems that this type of allergic reaction is caused by an overreaction of the immune system after an individual consumes an alcoholic drink for the first time.
The alcohol content in beer is responsible for these allergic reactions, although this varies from one brand to another and the exact cause of this remains unclear. Usually, the stronger the alcohol content of a drink, the higher the chances of an allergic reaction.
Most people who have a beer allergy can safely consume other types of alcoholic drinks without any side effects.
What is the treatment for a beer allergy?
The only way to prevent an allergic reaction triggered by beer or another type of alcohol is to completely avoid all forms of it. This means that you should avoid not only drinking beer, but also all other types of alcoholic drinks.
Treatment for mild allergic reactions triggered by alcohol includes taking antihistamines and keeping yourself well hydrated. If you experience severe symptoms or your condition worsens, get to a doctor or an emergency room as soon as possible for further evaluation and treatment.
What are the causes of a beer allergy?
The exact cause of a beer allergy is still unknown. It’s believed that some individuals are more sensitive to moderate or high levels of alcohol. The specific substance responsible for the allergic reaction remains unknown as well. The only way to prevent an allergic reaction triggered by beer or any other type of alcohol is to avoid all forms of it.
What are the risk factors of a beer allergy?
There are no known risk factors for developing a beer allergy.
Can a beer allergy be outgrown?
No, a beer allergy is an acquired allergy that persists for life.
How is a beer allergy diagnosed?
Your doctor will take a medical and family history from you and do a physical examination to make sure there are no other causes for the symptoms. If he suspects you have an allergy to beer, he might perform a skin prick test where a small amount of beer protein is injected into your skin to see if it causes a reaction. If this test is positive, a blood test can be performed to confirm the diagnosis.
Since a beer allergy might be caused by a more serious condition such as diabetes, thyroid problems or even cancer, your doctor might refer you to an allergist or to a general physician for further evaluation.
Avoiding alcoholic drinks is the only way to avoid triggers and reduce the severity of allergic reactions.
When should I call my doctor?
If the symptoms of a beer allergy appear for the first time, get medical assistance immediately. Also, call your doctor if you experience severe symptoms that affect your quality of life or don’t go away with antihistamine treatment. Also, make an appointment with your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
Itching in the genital area in men
Itching or soreness in the mouth
Pain while urinating
Redness or swelling of the genital area in women
Difficulty breathing, wheezing or shortness of breath
Chest pain or tightness
Dizziness or fainting
Coughing up blood
These are potential signs of a more serious condition that needs to be evaluated as soon as possible.
Sources & references used in this article:
Self‐Reported Alcohol‐Associated Symptoms and Drinking Behavior in Three ALDH2 Genotypes Among Japanese University Students by T Takeshita, K Morimoto – Alcoholism: Clinical and …, 1999 – Wiley Online Library
Clinical risk score for persistent postconcussion symptoms among children with acute concussion in the ED by …, C McGahern, M Aglipay, G Sangha, K Boutis, D Beer… – Jama, 2016 – jamanetwork.com
A rapid effect of caffeinated beverages on two choice reaction time tasks by PJ Durlach, R Edmunds, L Howard… – Nutritional …, 2002 – Taylor & Francis
Kinetics of the NO carbon reaction at fluidized bed combustor conditions by LK Chan, AF Sarofim, JM Beer – Combustion and flame, 1983 – Elsevier
Lipid transfer protein is involved in rhinoconjunctivitis and asthma produced by rice inhalation by E Enrique, O Ahrazem, J Bartra, MD Latorre… – Journal of allergy and …, 2005 – academia.edu