Can You Have Allergies to Red Wine?
A quick surf on the internet will quickly revealing a somewhat worrying nugget of information for any fans of red wine; this most luxurious of drinks does seem to have an association with allergies. T...
A quick surf on the internet will quickly revealing a somewhat worrying nugget of information for any fans of red wine; this most luxurious of drinks does seem to have an association with allergies. There are numerous tales of people both on the internet and in their daily lives, believing themselves to suffer from a red wine allergy.
If you are wondering if you can have an allergy to red wine, the answer, I'm afraid, is far from simple. The main symptom these believers of red wine allergy seems to be are asthma like symptoms; these include shortness of breath, a tight chest, wheezing and even coughing – all of which are associated by the sufferer with consuming red wine.
Unfortunately, there is some truth in this idea that red wine causes allergies – though the case is not as simple as that. A person can develop an intolerance or allergy to almost anything, but it is rare that the allergy is actually red wine itself. What these people who report problems with red wine are experiences is an exacerbation of an existing allergy – or an allergy to one of the substances within red wine. Alcohol itself is extremely rarely the primary cause of an allergic reaction.
The science behind this is simple. Red wine is particularly associated with allergies due its chemical properties; when ingested, it actually stimulates the body into producing more histamine than it usually would. Histamine, in turn, is what causes an allergic reaction – this is the chemical reaction produced when the body comes into contact with something it does not like. It is the effects of the anti-histamine that causes common allergy symptoms such as itching, sore throats or – indeed – asthma like symptoms; not the actual problem substance itself. Most of the feelings given to a person when suffering from too much histamine are designed to remove the offending chemical or substance for the body; scratching, for example, would remove whatever was irritating the skin, while coughing removes the problem substance from the body. Histamine is an important part of body function.
Unfortunately, as briefly mentioned, red wine causes the body to produce histamine when it really does not need to. Therefore, if you already suffer from an allergy – albeit a mild one – by drinking red wine, even more histamine will be produced and therefore your allergic symptoms will seem all the worse. This is all the more potent if your base allergy is actually grapes or grape skins – as these clearly is ingested with red wine; it is this unfortunate combination that leads many people to believe they are allergic to red wine itself. Which, one could argue, in a way they are; just not the alcohol.
There is no real common cure for this problem. Typically, allergic reactions are eased by taking anti-histamines, yet most of the prescription (and therefore most likely to work) versions of anti-histamines mean that drinking is strictly off limits. If it is a real problem for you, you can consult you physician about the possibility of a long-lasting anti histamine injection which lasts for up to six months. After the first few days, you can drink alcohol with these.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Caterina Christakos is a published author and reviewer. Read her review of Rancilio Silvia espresso and where to get your next espresso coffee machine at a discount.