Is the only solution to your allergic reaction to alcohol to quit drinking alcohol completely?
Allergies to alcohol will create an allergic reaction quickly after consumption of alcohol. For some just a little redness in the face occurs and for others a full blown allergic reaction including extreme difficulty in breathing can occur. The picture to the right is of an individual experiencing the classic alcohol red face reaction from drinking.
An alcohol allergy can be of varying severity from mild and uncomfortable, such as red face, congestion, and itchy skin to intense and dangerous such as trouble breathing and vomiting.
The reason for the allergic reactions to alcohol is a lack of the particular enzyme which metabolisms alcohol and not a ‘real’ allergy at least as medicine defines allergy. All of the symptoms above, as annoying and even as dangerous as they can be, are ironically part of a condition called Asian Glow or Asian Girl Glow.
Although this condition is pretty rare for most people (5% or less of the population) it is very well known to anyone who is Asian (50% of the Asian population). If you have alcohol allergy and these symptoms it is both a curse a blessing, the blessing being that your body is doing its job of detering you from putting harmful substances in your body.
When the body first breaks down alcohol it converts it into Acetaldehyde which chemically similar to Formaldehyde and is carcinogenic (cancer causing). Without the Aldehyde Dehydrogenase to break down the Acetaldehyde your body has carcinogens floating all around while you are getting a buzz.
First let me clear up one myth out there about alcohol intolerance and its symptoms: Pepcid or Zantac is NOT a reliable, effective treatment as it works in some people and not others and even for those that it works for sometimes it does and sometimes it does not. In addition the consumption of these antacids just prior to drinking can significantly magnify alcohols inebriating effects in an unexpected manner.
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