Do you get hives after drinking alcohol? You’re not alone! While this can sometimes be hard to diagnose, there’s a common cause for this reaction.
Most likely cause of hives after drinking alcohol is alcohol intolerance
Even though hives (Urticaria) seems like an allergy symptom, it’s likely not the cause in this situation. While hives are common in many food allergies, a true allergy to alcohol is very rare. In all likelihood, hives after drinking alcohol is typically signs of an alcohol intolerance.
What is alcohol intolerance?
For a deep-dive into this condition, make sure to check out our article: Why does my face go red after drinking alcohol?
In short, alcohol intolerance triggers an allergic-like reaction to alcohol in those that cannot break down alcohol properly. While this is very common in those of Asian descent (especially East Asians) it can happen to anyone.
Because many alcohol intolerance symptoms mimic those of an allergic reaction, many people believe they must be allergic to alcohol. This isn’t the case! Alcohol intolerance is much more likely.
Common symptoms of alcohol intolerance:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Rapid heartbeat
- Flushing (or red skin)
- Laboured breathing
- Stuffy nose or nasal congestion
- Headaches or migraines in more severe cases
So I’m not allergic to alcohol?
While allergic reactions to alcohol are rare, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. If you have severe side effects from alcohol, such as painful hives all over your body and trouble breathing, make sure to stop drinking and speak to your doctor. It’s important to avoid alcohol until the true cause is found from various treatments like allergy testing or an elimination diet.
An alcohol intolerance will cause negative symptoms no matter what you drink, from white wine and beer to spirits and cocktails. Many people also report red wine as being a big trigger.
But if you only experience symptoms from one particular drink, it might be that you’re intolerance or allergic to an ingredient, rather than the alcohol itself. Those who have Celiac disease and cannot have gluten can experience really negative symptoms from drinking beer (which contains gluten) and no symptoms from other drinks.
How to prevent hives after drinking alcohol
The most obvious way to stop hives after drinking alcohol is not to drink alcohol in the first place. However, this isn’t always helpful, especially for those who still want to continue having a drink here or there.
If your reaction isn’t due to an allergy, alcohol flush reaction products may be able to help your symptoms. These are usually promoted to treat “Asian Flush” or “Alcohol Flush Reaction” which is just another way of describing alcohol intolerance. Asian Flush products help the user metabolize alcohol quicker and can reduce symptoms, such as hives, red facial flushing, headaches and a stuffy nose.
Here are Asian Flush Cure, we’re looking to find the best relief from alcohol intolerance symptoms. Make sure to check out our Asian Flush review section before trying them out yourself. Have you seen a product you’d like us to test and review? Just let us know!
If you don’t want to buy anything, you can try out some DIY Alcohol Intolerance Cures.