Exploring Alcohol's Impact on Allergies and Asthma

Year after year, the dreaded allergy march ensues. No matter what region you live in, there's no getting out of allergens' existence in your neck of the woods, whether you're affected by them or not. If you don't recognize the shift in air quality through nasal congestion or other allergy symptoms, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. However, seasonal allergies themselves may not be the only thing you have to worry about.

If you've noticed yourself having a difficult time breathing  or fighting a runny nose after a few drinks, you're not alone. A recent study has shown that your alcohol consumption actually plays a vital role in how allergies affect you. Take asthma, for instance. This is something many people struggle with daily, yet it's something that exponentially worsens with the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Come in from the rain and get cosy with a glass of red.

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How so, you may be wondering? If you're a longtime sufferer of asthma or allergies in general, your allergy symptoms can be worsened with the addition of alcohol in your daily nutritional intake. Histamines and sulfites, two of the various ingredients in alcohol, could be to blame for this severe reaction.

Histamines, which are heavy components in alcohol such as red wine, are known to trigger asthma, and can heighten your allergic senses. Additionally, it can trigger a headache and a more severe allergic reaction to the sweet stuff hidden inside your glass of red wine. From difficulty breathing to heartburn, these almost immediate common side effects are worse than a hangover to many sufferers.

Red wine also contains sulfites, which up to 10 percent of the population are sensitive to. With sulfites, you may not necessarily have asthmatic outbreaks to fall victim when drinking alcohol, though you may feel nasal swelling and itchy skin, similar to hay fever symptoms. While advanced allergy testing might pick up sensitivities, a true alcohol allergy almost always goes untested.

Is it safe to drink alcohol from an allergic standpoint? The thing that's important to remember is that not everyone affected by common allergens or asthma attacks will experience an outbreak or reactions to alcohol when it's consumed, especially in small amounts. In fact, only 33 percent of people will experience an attack of some sort caused directly from the intake of alcohol.

The same study also found that 40 percent of allergic outbursts due to alcoholic intake were brought on by wine. For this reason, it's been said that wine is the most common inducer of allergic reactions when it comes to alcoholic beverages, taking as little as an hour for symptoms to kick in.

Let's say you're the unlucky soul who experiences these true allergy difficulties when drinking, what can you do? Luckily, there are options that are lower in sulfites and histamines. These tend to be those within the spirits category, such as vodka, gin and whiskey. Though, it is important to consider the other components, such as sugar, that may exist in some of these spirits, as well.

To fully avoid the possibility of asthmatic symptoms, it's safe to maneuver around the hard ciders and your favorite beer when you're experiencing common symptoms before drinking.

Instead, go for a zesty gin and tonic with cucumbers for a refreshing summer cocktail, or even try your hand at a homemade John Daly to take the edge off a hard days work. Cheers!

Homemade John Daly

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Try your hand on a summertime classic with this herby, homemade recipe here.

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