Alcohol allergies: Symptoms, treatments, and alcohol intolerance

Symptoms of an alcohol intolerance include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, hives, facial flushing, chest tightness or difficulty breathing. If someone experiences these symptoms after consuming even small amounts of alcohol it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Alcohol consumption can lead to a stuffy nose due to the effect it has on your body. Alcohol is metabolized by enzymes in your liver, which convert ethanol into acetaldehyde. This is then broken down further into acetate and other byproducts.

Researchers believe that this could be due to the sulfites used in producing white wine, as well as the histamines found in white grapes. If you’ve ever experienced anaphylaxis after drinking beer, it’s important that you determine which ingredient caused it so you can avoid it all together. Ask your doctor if you should carry a prescription epinephrine pen. If you feel ill after drinking alcohol but don’t experience symptoms at any other time, it’s possible that you have an alcohol intolerance.


Spirits such as vodka and gin can also cause sneezing due to the presence of histamines. In addition, some people find that the alcohol in these drinks irritates their nose, leading to sneezing. Alcohol intolerance is caused by a genetic condition in which the body can’t break down alcohol efficiently.

sneezing when drinking

The immune system overreacts to this exposure in the body, treating alcohol as a threat. The body produces antibodies, and when they encounter alcohol, they set off a systemic allergic reaction. The immune system usually produces antibodies to fight harmful substances in the body.

How to treat sneezing at home

It means you have to take great care in reading labels and choosing foods and drinks. In addition to avoiding high-histamine and allergy-triggering foods, people should focus on incorporating histamine-lowering and anti-inflammatory foods into their diet. This can include olive oil, ginger and garlic, and some dairy products, TOP 10 BEST Sober Living Homes in Boston, MA January 2024 such as organic yogurt, for example. Although there is no ‘cure’ for HIT, it can be eased by avoiding certain foods and keeping away from histamine-releasing medications. People are advised to create a specially tailored diet that includes only low-histamine foods, but still provides the body with essential nutrients.

It is important to consult with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. If your symptoms are caused by sinus problems, you may need to see an allergist or immunologist for tests and treatments. Dr. Adkinson recommends that people who are prone to alcohol-related allergic reactions should avoid consuming these fruits as well as alcoholic beverages containing sulfites.

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In severe instances, a person may have a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis that causes extreme swelling and difficulty breathing. Some of the most common foods that can trigger allergies are milk, eggs, peanuts, soy, and tree nuts. As a result, their bodies produce inactive ALDH enzymes that are unable to properly break down the alcohol into acetic vinegar. This incomplete processing of the alcohol can cause the body to react by producing symptoms that reflect an allergy to the alcohol. People with this gene deficiency suffer two-fold from allergic symptoms to alcohol. First, the body produces histamines in response to the presence of the alcohol that the body is unable to digest.

sneezing when drinking

For example, if wine makes you sneeze, try drinking vodka or gin instead. Likewise, if beer makes you sneeze, try drinking vodka or gin instead. And if cocktails make you sneeze, try making your own with fresh fruit juices instead of pre-made mixes.

Rhinitis is the medical term for inflammation of the mucus membrane in your nose. This inflammation leads to sneezing, stuffiness, and a runny nose. Rhinitis is often broken down into allergic and nonallergic rhinitis. The different types depend on whether or not it’s caused by allergies. If you have a true alcohol allergy, even small amounts of alcohol can cause symptoms. Rinsing your nose with salt water can help with symptoms of nonallergic rhinitis.

  • Knowing the potential risk posed by histamines will help ensure that the wine is safe and enjoyable for everyone to consume.
  • Additionally, some people may experience swelling of the lips, tongue and throat.
  • Histamine-induced reactions occur when an individual is sensitive to histamines naturally found in wine.