Alcohol Allergies Can Cause Sneezing, Flushing, Headache

However, alcohol can also have effects with which many people may not be familiar. Here are five surprising side effects of alcohol you should know about. Wine has been a popular beverage since ancient times and across all cultures. While the effects of wine on health are frequently reported, allergy or intolerance to wine has not been as closely studied.

Red wine has less sulfites than white wine, but white wine has less histamine that red wine. Depending on what compound your body reacts to, one variety might be better for you than the other. For instance, beer and wine contain high levels of histamine, which can also contribute to a runny nose or nasal congestion. Or, maybe you're sensitive to sulfites or other chemicals in alcoholic beverages, resulting in nausea or headaches. The risk factors for alcohol intolerance include being of Asian descent, having asthma or allergic rhinitis, and having Hodgkin’s lymphoma. An inherited deficiency in the enzyme called aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2), which is involved in the breakdown of the toxins in alcohol, is more common among people of Asian descent.

Alcohol Allergy Diagnosis

In very rare cases, reactions to alcohol may be a sign of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Some allergy patients notice a worsening of their asthma symptoms after drinking wine, which might be connected to the high level of sulfites and histamine in wine. Experts suggest that allergic asthma patients should always drink in moderation.

The first is that alcohol contains compounds that act as allergens. The most common of these compounds are sulfites, which are typically highest in beer, brown liquor, and cider. Alcohol can trigger asthma attacks in patients who have previously been diagnosed with asthma.

How is alcohol allergy diagnosed?

People with alcohol intolerance could still consume alcohol, although they will likely experience side effects. An alcohol allergy is a rare toxic reaction to alcohol that can be fatal in rare cases. Often, what people consider to be an alcohol allergy is, in fact, alcohol intolerance. But there are other factors that put you at higher risk of alcohol intolerance. Those with asthma or hay fever are more likely to have it, as are those who are already allergic to grains or other foods (also, those with Hodgkin’s lymphoma). It’s also found in many foods and beverages, especially fermented products.

  • Genetic mutations in both kinds of dehydrogenases are common, but it’s the slow versions of aldehyde dehydrogenase that often cause the flushing.
  • This is likely because wine contains histamines, which trigger allergies.
  • You had a long week, and you opened that bottle of wine to help you relax — but instead you wound up with a stuffy nose you now have to deal with.
  • Submit your number and receive a free call today from a treatment provider.
  • One of the most common alcohol intolerance symptoms is red bumps or hives.

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), most people with AERD need to take daily medications to control their symptoms. These include inhaled corticosteroids for asthma, intranasal steroids for nasal symptoms, and steroids injected directly into the polyps. We’re a premier alcohol addiction treatment center in Cleveland, Ohio. Our expert detox services can help remove the fear and anxiety over alcohol withdrawal and support your journey to lasting recovery.

Should you drink alcohol if you’re sick?

If you have a tree nut allergy, this type of alcohol can trigger your allergy symptoms – especially if you drink too much. Abusing alcohol has such a negative effect on your immune system that it can make allergies worse. An alcohol allergy is when your body reacts to alcohol as if it’s a harmful intruder and makes antibodies that try to fight it off.

alcohol and sneezing

Consuming foods that are high in histamine can have a negative impact on allergy symptoms, as they increase inflammation in the body. An allergy patient already struggling with hay fever symptoms might therefore experience even worse symptoms after drinking. That runny or stuffy nose you get if you're intolerant to alcohol may feel and seem like allergies, but it's not.


If sneezing impacts your quality of life, talk to your doctor about ways to reduce or eliminate the problem. In this article, we’ll explore why sneezing and alcohol sometimes go hand-in-hand. When we think about alcohol tolerance, we often think of the number of drinks a person can handle before getting giggly or slurring words.

alcohol and sneezing

If your body can’t do this well enough, you will have a reaction. Quercetin is a plant pigment that has been shown to cause sneezing in some people. Learn about COVID vs. flu vs. cold symptoms with help from Theraflu. Gain a better understanding of the important differences between COVID, the flu and a cold.

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