Not-so-Happy Hour: The Link Between Alcohol & Allergies Pinnacle ENT Blog

When someone suddenly starts sneezing after drinking a few pints, it’s time for them to take a break and re-assess their drinking habits. Taking smaller sips can help reduce the amount of carbonation your nose is exposed to. If you’re still having problems, it could be time to consult your doctor. Histamines can be found in wine, as they are produced when yeast is used to ferment grapes. For these reasons, it is important for winemakers to be aware of the possible effects that histamines may have on some people. As such, The TTTB has proposed a change to the labeling requirements which will require winemakers to list any ingredients that may contain histamines on the label.


If someone experiences these symptoms after consuming even small amounts of alcohol it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Histamine intolerance is a complex condition that can be caused by several different factors. It occurs when your body has difficulty metabolizing the histamines found in certain foods and drinks, such as wine or beer. If you experience sudden sneezing after consuming these beverages, it may be an indication of histamine intolerance. The key to managing histamine intolerance is to recognize which foods and drinks are high in histamine levels and avoid them.

Mayo Clinic Press

Histamine-induced reactions occur when an individual is sensitive to histamines naturally found in wine. These reactions may cause inflammation of the skin, throat and airways, leading to difficulty breathing. Finally, sulfite-induced reactions occur when an individual is sensitive to the sulfur dioxide used during wine production as a preservative. Symptoms of this type of reaction may include headaches, skin rash and nausea. Wine contains many organic compounds including proteins from grapes , bacteria, yeast, sulfites and biogenic amines .


When you drink alcohol, it’s absorbed into your bloodstream and quickly travels to your brain. The most likely explanation is that alcohol dilates blood vessels in the nose, which can cause irritation and lead to sneezing. The first is that alcohol contains compounds that act as allergens. The most common of these compounds are sulfites, which are typically highest in beer, brown liquor, and cider. “Significantly, he self-challenged to wine, grain liquor, and beer without any symptoms and continues to tolerate these beverages without issue,” the authors wrote. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology , most people with AERD need to take daily medications to control their symptoms.

Facial Swelling

There is no definitive answer to this question as everyone’s body chemistry is different. Some people may be allergic to the agave plant that tequila is made from, while others may be allergic to the alcohol itself. It is also possible to be allergic to the additives and flavorings that are often found in tequila. If you are allergic to tequila, you may experience symptoms such as hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, lips, or tongue. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Alcohol byproducts accumulate to levels high enough to cause a mild allergic reaction if they are not broken down quickly enough.

  • If you experience these symptoms after drinking alcohol, you must see a doctor as you may need to be treated for an allergy.
  • Another possibility is that alcohol irritates the mucous membranes in the nose, causing them to swell and lead to sneezing.
  • The first step is to determine whether you have an alcohol intolerance.
  • On top of those reasons, the individual may have an alcohol intolerance.
  • In some people, drinking alcohol may also trigger an allergic reaction, which can cause sneezing and other symptoms.

In this sneezing after drinking alcohol, a doctor gives a patient gradually increasing doses of aspirin to help the person become less sensitive to NSAIDs. Patients need to continue taking aspirin daily in order to maintain their desensitization. Lack of smell can rob people of many of life’s pleasures, such as enjoying their food.

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