I am 22 and I liked to have a glass of wine once in a while. However, one day I had about half a glass and started to feel very itchy between my eyebrows. I chose to ignore it because wine commonly made me go a little rosy and feel hot. However, the next time I had this same wine (new bottle) I had 2 sips and felt this itching again in the same place. When I looked in the mirror, my face was becoming red and blotchy, and soon covered my entire face (even my eyelids!). It felt like it was on fire and was clearly a tad swollen. It eventually spread to my chest. I tried to cool the areas with ice and twenty minutes later, my skin was fine.
At first I thought this might have been caused by this specific wine since the bottle said it contains sulfites. I tried to have a glass of wine that boasts absolutely no preservatives, just grapes, but the same thing happened off a couple of sips. This is not a grape allergy. I commonly eat grapes and have no problem with them.
After a week of avoiding alcohol altogether, which was difficult because it was during the holidays, I wanted to see if beer was also off limits now. Yes, it is. I had barely finished the neck when I felt the itching between my eyebrows. Sure enough, within minutes my face was bright red and hot to the touch.
I am not any kind of heavy drinker, but I'm still young and I would like to be able to drink with my friends! This is very frustrating for me and confusing to say the least. I'm not sure what to do, and I'm sure a doctor would scoff at me if I came to them with my troubles. I read online that alcohol allergies are rare and rapid onset of any allergy suggests a problem with the adrenals. Please help!
Actually alcohol allergies are fairly common.
The onset to any allergy is usually just as you described. One day your fine, the next time, allergic reaction. It's the same with any allergen. You need to be exposed first to build up the immune response, make antibodies. The next exposure your body defends itself and releases histamines which makes you itch.
You should see your doctor to confirm but you describe a typical scenario.
It's not the first time you're stung by a bee that causes trouble. If you're going to have an allergic reaction it will be after that.
I know that allergies can come on quickly, but it's not like I'm new to drinking or it was very rare. I'm not a heavy drinker, especially this year, but I've had my fair share of wine bottles. I just don't understand why it is now, if something is going on internally. Its almost instantaneous, so it must be the alcohol itself since my body wouldn't have metabolized it yet. I just wonder what else I am allergic to, since I have never had an allergy before. I suspect it may have something to do with the basement I am living in. Could long-term mold and mildew exposure cause allergies? If this is the case, could it be temporary?
It doesn't matter if you only had one glass of wine or 500, it is just the way allergies work. Your body has developed antibodies against SOMETHING, it could be the alcohol in the wine and beer, or something else in both.
Metabolize is your body breaking it down, it doesn't need to take that long. As soon as you ingest it it can cause the reaction.
Mold and mildew can certainly cause problems. You may be hypersensitive due to these other allergens and reducing exposure might help. Some allergies can also be reduced by repeated exposure to small amounts. You could talk to an allergist.