Depending on your symptoms, they might refer you to an allergist for testing and treatment. An allergist is a special type of doctor that focuses on allergic conditions. “Development of hives or red bumps are commonly due to a reaction to histamines that can’t be broken down,” says Dr. Glatter. It’s the inability to metabolize these histamines that can cause an allergic reaction or flare-up, he says. Levels of histamines vary based on alcohol, but they will be in higher concentrations in beer and wine , he says.
In very rare cases, a reaction to alcohol can be a sign of Hodgkin lymphoma. Exactly how many people have alcohol intolerance can be tricky to pinpoint, because some of the symptoms can be confused for a hangover. In a 2007 study of 6,000 people, about 14% of participants reported having some reaction to alcohol and said that they felt it in their respiratory tract or on their skin. Alcohol intolerance is usually genetic, and is more common in people of East Asian descent, according to a 2009 study. In some cases, over-the-counter or prescription medications may help relieve symptoms.
When to see a doctor
Unless the acetaldehyde is converted into the less harmful acetic acid, various symptoms can bloom, according to the Cleveland Clinic. It’s worth noting that intolerance has nothing to do can you be allergic to alcohol with an addiction to alcohol or dependence. We adhere to structured guidelines for sourcing information and linking to other resources, including scientific studies and medical journals.
You can have an alcohol allergy at any point in your life. Sudden onset of symptoms may also be due to a newly developed intolerance.
What to expect from your doctor
If you or a loved one is ready to overcome an alcohol addiction, reach out today. Treatment providers can connect you with programs that provide the tools to help you get and stay sober.
For example, barley is typically found in beer but not wine. Allergy testing should always be done in a medical setting. Some people have an intolerance or sensitivity to sulfites. These compounds are often added to beer and wine to limit the growth of yeast and act as a preservative. Common sulfites include potassium bisulfite or potassium metabisulfite.