Your doctor will try to figure out whether you have an intolerance, or if your symptoms are caused by something else, such as a reaction to other ingredients in alcoholic beverages. The following may help determine the cause of your symptoms:
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- Description of your symptoms. Be prepared to tell your doctor exactly what symptoms you have and what drinks cause them. Your doctor may want to know whether you have any blood relatives with food allergies or other allergies.
- Physical examination. A careful exam can identify or exclude other medical problems.
- Skin test. A skin prick test can determine whether you may be allergic to something in alcoholic beverages — for example, grains in beer. In this test, your skin is pricked with a tiny amount of a substance that could be causing your reaction. If you're allergic to the substance being tested, you'll develop a raised bump or other skin reaction.
- Blood test. A blood test can measure your immune system's response to a particular substance by checking the amount of allergy-type antibodies in your bloodstream known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. For this test, a blood sample is sent to a laboratory to check reactions to certain foods. However, these blood tests aren't always accurate.
- 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.
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