Though allergic reactions to alcohol are rarely reported, certain non-allergic adverse reactions to alcohol such as flushing, irritant reactions, toxic reactions as well as physiological effects are more commonly reported. it is stated that as little as just 1 ml of pure alcohol which equals to 10 ml of wine or mouthful of beer is enough to aggravate severe rashes, difficulty breathing, stomach cramps or collapse which is known as anaphylaxis in medical terms. In such condition the body consistently generates small amounts of alcohol itself, so the reason that such reactions occur is scantily understood.
The mechanism of allergic reactions to alcohol is yet vague as it is not believed to be mediated by IgE and is most likely that breakdown products of alcohol like acetic acid or acetaldehyde are less potent of causing allergic reactions anyway.
There are numerous sources of alcohol including alcoholic soft drinks, mixes, spiked drinks, food marinades or even tomato-puree. Over-ripe fruits can ferment resulting in adequate alcohol production to cause a reaction. Certain medicines like cough syrups also contain alcohol like some injectable medications.
People with alcohol allergy should be treated in the same way as others with serious allergic reactions – detect and avert the cause and carry adrenaline – epinephrine as an emergency action tool in case they experience serious allergic reactions accidentally.
Alcohol is believed to deteriorate the symptoms in patients having hives or urticaria. Seldom alcohol may also activate hives directly. Less common symptoms like localized contact hives and contact dermatitis.
The effects of toxicity of alcohol are known like affecting the liver, stomach, brain and mental functions to great extent. Though alcohol has a relaxant effect on the brain, some people may experience inconsistent shakeup and anxiety, which are perhaps due to the drug-like function of alcohol.