Alcohol and smoking can trigger allergic reactions or make allergy symptoms worse

Reactions to alcohol can be triggered by the ingredients themselves – the barley, hops, grapes, ethanol, histamine, oats, tryptamine, tyramine, wheat and yeast – or by any of the allergens introduced during the processing or preserving – eggs, fish products and sulphites.

The symptoms can vary, ranging from red itchy eyes, nasal congestion, upset stomach, difficulty breathing or rashes to asthma attacks or anaphylaxis.

Dr Sami Bahna, an allergist and past president of The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), and chief of Allergy and Immunology at Louisiana State University Medical School in Shreveport, LA, USA, presented research relating to alcohol and tobacco. Bahna reports that people may be sensitive to the alcohol itself, or an added ingredient, and if they aren’t allergic, the alcohol can still worsen existing allergy symptoms. He recommends diagnosis to pinpoint exactly which allergens are causing a reaction, and then simply avoiding particular beverages.

Tobacco smoke not only worsens asthma, it can also affect seasonal allergy sufferers. Studies show that exposure to smoke can enhance sensitivity to airborne substances such as pollen and mould spores. Bahna advises that people with allergies and asthma should be especially careful to avoid exposure to tobacco smoke.

Source: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology /  

More research reports on alcohol and wine

First Published November 2011

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