Alcohol intolerance symptoms — or symptoms of a reaction to ingredients in an alcoholic beverage — can include:
- Facial redness (flushing)
- Warm, red, itchy bumps on the skin (hives)
- Worsening of pre-existing asthma
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Low blood pressure
When to see a doctor
You may not need to see a doctor if you have a mild intolerance to alcohol or something else in alcoholic beverages. You may simply need to avoid alcohol, limit how much you drink or avoid certain types of alcoholic beverages that seem to be causing your symptoms. However, if you have a serious reaction or you suspect your symptoms could be linked to an allergy or underlying health problem or a medication you're taking, see your doctor.
Apr. 26, 2012
- Armentia A. Adverse reactions to wine: Think outside the bottle. Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2008;8:266.
- Fazio SB. Approach to flushing in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Feb. 28, 2012.
- Ehlers I. Ethanol as a cause of hypersensitivity reactions to alcoholic beverages. Clinical & Experimental Allergy. 2002;32:1235.
- Stadie V, et al. Itching attacks with generalized hyperhydrosis as initial symptoms of Hodgkin's disease. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 2003;17:559.
- Cianferoni A, et al. Food-induced anaphylaxis. Immunology and Allergy Clinics of North America. 2012;32:165.
- Nakagawa Y, et al. Urticarial reactions caused by ethanol. Allergology International. 2006;55:411.
- Sticherling M, et al. Alcohol: Intolerance syndromes, urticarial and anaphylactoid reactions. Clinics in Dermatology. 1999;17:417.