An allergic reaction to alcohol typically occurs as sensitivity to one of the ingredients present in certain alcoholic beverages or to the substances that the alcohol is combined with in cocktails. If an individual is unable to metabolize alcohol, it can cause flushing which resembles a rash, especially in some ethnic groups. Since allergic reactions has the tendency to become worse with frequent exposure, a doctor must be consulted for allergy testing if the individual develops an allergic rash after consumption of alcohol.
Intolerance to alcohol
Intolerance to alcohol can cause facial flushing along with nasal congestion that strikingly resembles an allergic rash. This is quite prevalent among Asians in which alcohol intolerance occurs due to the absence of an enzyme called as aldehyde dehydrogenase which is responsible for the break down of the toxins present in the substance.
Pounding and rapid heartbeat along with nausea and vomiting can also manifest. Take note that this form of alcohol intolerance is usually genetic. The histamine which forms due to the fermentation or brewing process can also trigger a reaction. Remember that this is the same substance released by the body once an allergen is detected.
What are the potential allergens?
Individuals who have allergies to the grains utilized in producing alcohol such as hops, grapes, rye, wheat or barley as well as sensitivity to sulfites that are used as preservatives in wines can end up with an allergic reaction once they consume alcohol. Even the mixes that contain tonic water or juice can also instigate a reaction with an allergic rash. The allergic rash can also occur among individuals who consume alcoholic beverages mixed with tonic water which might contain quinine.
Other accompanying symptoms
Aside from the allergic rash, individuals who are allergic to alcohol or to the substances present in the beverages might suffer from severe reactions that involve throat tightening, shortness of breath, facial swelling and low blood pressure. A severe reaction or anaphylaxis is considered life-threatening and requires immediate medical care right away.
Treatment for allergic rash
Once the individual ends up with a rash or facial flushing due to intolerance to alcohol, it is best to avoid consuming alcohol or substances that the individual is sensitive to. If an individual is sensitive to a specific type of alcohol, he/she might be able to drink other alcoholic beverages, but if he/she has an inherited intolerance, consuming a small amount of any type of alcohol can trigger a reaction. You can take up a class on first aid today so that you can readily manage the condition.
Antihistamines are given to help alleviate the symptoms during a mild allergic reaction. On the other hand, severe reactions entail adrenalin in the form of an injectable epinephrine that the individuals always have on hand. The doctor will prescribe an injectable epinephrine for those who are prone to severe reactions. Remember that avoiding any alcoholic beverage can prevent an allergic rash as well as other symptoms from occurring.