Wine May Worsen Allergy Symptoms

For many in the eastern parts of the United States and Canada, a cool and wet spring has caused grasses, trees and flowering plant to grow faster and produce more pollen.  Rain and humidity can also worsen mold and dust mite counts, creating a perfect storm for allergy sufferers.  But before deciding to close the windows, turn on the A/C and indulge in a Netflix binge with a few glasses of vino, you may want to learn more about how wine can trigger or worsen allergies symptoms, particularly in women. 

According to a Swedish study, alcohol-induced nasal symptoms are associated with respiratory problems including asthma, chronic bronchitis, COPD and allergic rhinitis.  People with these conditions were found to be more likely to experience symptoms like a runny nose or sneezing after having a drink of red or white wine.  Having just a glass or two of wine each day can increase the risk of having allergy symptoms, according to a Danish study.  

The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology has been studying the link between alcohol use and allergic reactions.   A report by the AAAI states that consuming alcohol can increase allergic reactions, lowering the amount of an allergenic necessary to cause a reaction, speeding up the reaction time and increasing the severity of allergic reactions.   

And if you take an antihistamine like Benadryl to reduce allergy symptoms, be careful not to mix it with alcohol which can result in serious side effects including drowsiness, loss of consciousness, dehydration and a heightened interaction with other medications.  Because aging slows the body’s ability to process alcohol, it can stay in the system of older adults longer, lengthening the time alcohol would pose a danger if mixed with Benadryl. 

If you are suffering from seasonal allergies this Spring, talk with your doctor about treatment options and always check for possible drug interactions before adding any medication, even an over-the-counter antihistamine or decongestant, to your medication regime.  For more information about allergic rhinitis and other allergies, follow this link to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.