Nasal allergies and alcohol

By admin
12 December 2013

Why alcohol can put a damper on your festivities.

During the holiday period we tend to go overboard with our alcohol intake. And with many people suffering from nasal allergies, enjoying too much wine and spirits can only make this health problem worse.

You could even be one of the many who suffer from alcohol intolerance whose   common symptoms include puffiness of the lips, mouth, throat and eyes after consumption, as well as sneezing and a runny nose. In extreme cases some people develop headaches, hives or shortness of breath.

Here’s a look at the culprits:

  • Red wine is the worst offender when it comes to alcohol and the nasal airways because of the protein, yeast and bacteria present in the wine-making process. The LTP protein allergen is found in the skins of grapes and because red wine is fermented with grape skins intact it’s most likely to cause nasal issues. White wines are fermented without grape skins so it causes less irritation.
  • Wine also contains sulphites and a variety of organic compounds which increase nasal allergies. Sometimes egg whites and gelatine are also used in the filtration of wine and these are common allergens.
  • Beer uses yeast and moulds in the brewing process, which can also cause a chemical reaction that produces histamines and tyramines. Both these trigger allergy levels and tyramines are normally the cause of hypertension and headaches.
  • Ethanol levels in spirits are high and this causes the blood vessels to widen, making the absorption of allergens more likely.
  • Limit spirit usage in cocktails, and if you’re nut intolerant avoid alcohol such as hazelnut liqueur.
  • Fizzy or flavoured drinks which include coolers should also be avoided.

Curb your allergies by sticking to a specific tipple which doesn’t cause you as much discomfort and, obviously, don’t overindulge. If you do become short of breath or seriously ill, call your doctor!

For more info on allergies go to allergyexpert.co.za or call 0860-PHARMA (742-762)

Source:  Pharma Dynamics; Department of Respiratory Medicine and Allergology, University Hospital, SE-2218 5 Lund, Sweden: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15878494

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