When an individual is allergic to alcohol, he or she may experience life-threatening reactions. Anaphylaxis is the term used to describe a severe allergic reaction, which requires immediate medical attention.

However, not everyone is aware of the potential for alcohol allergies. There are several ways that you can determine if you or someone you know may have an allergy to alcohol.

Signs of Alcohol Allergies

Some of the first signs to show up in an individual who is allergic to alcohol are hives, nasal swelling and congestion. This may be followed by anaphylaxis, asthmatic symptoms and vomiting. However, side effects such as headache, abdominal pain, heartburn and rapid heartbeat have been reported in individuals with an allergy to alcohol. In many cases, a small amount of alcohol can trigger these symptoms without warning.
Alcohol flush is a reaction that occurs in individuals who experience polymorphism. However, it is not a sign of an allergic reaction of anaphylaxis.

Causes of Alcohol-Related Anaphylaxis

Exposure to alcohol is the primary cause of these side effects in individuals who are allergic. Common allergens that can cause an attack include barley, hops, yeast, rye, wheat, gluten and sulfites. Many histamines can also be found in red wine.

When an individual shows an allergic reaction to alcohol exposure, alcohol should be avoided to eliminate the risk of side effects.

Treatment of Alcohol Allergies

If you have an alcohol allergy, the only way to ensure that you do not experience anaphylaxis is to avoid alcohol consumption. Antihistamines can be used to treat minor side effects, but they do not prevent a reaction or guarantee safe consumption.

Individuals who have an allergy to alcohol are advised to wear a medical alert bracelet and consult a healthcare professional for an emergency epinephrine auto-injector.

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Author's Bio: 

Brian Wu graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physiology and Neurobiology. Currently, he holds a PhD and is an MD candidate (KSOM, USC) in integrative biology and disease. He is also an experienced writer and editor for many prestigious web pages. Brian values the ability of all ages to learn from the power of stories. His mission is to write about health conditions, educational topics and life situations in an entertaining way in order to help children understand their own life conditions and daily circumstances.