Are you Allergic to Happy Hour?

Are you Allergic to Happy Hour?

Cardiologists and other health care professionals have long been promoting the health benefits of wine. Wine (in moderation) can promote longevity, reduce risk of heart attack, heart disease, stroke, colon cancer and brain decline. We know, we also wish drinking wine like a “real housewife” was doctor recommended.

Unfortunately, there are some people that cannot have wine, even in moderation. There are some people who are actually allergic to wine. I know! I’ll wait while you pick your jaw up off the floor. Are you ready for another hit? It gets worse. Some people don’t even know they are allergic to it.

For those with food allergies, your immune system is essentially mistaking harmless food proteins for a threat and attacking them. Large amounts of immunoglobulin E (IgE), an antibody, are produced. IgE causes the release of histamine and other chemicals, which can trigger the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

The most common causes of a wine allergy are sulfites, glycoproteins and a simple grape allergy. Sulfites occur naturally in wine as the yeast metabolizes in the fermentation process. Sulfites can also be added to wine as a preservative. White wine contains more sulfite preservatives than red, as it is needed to protect the wine’s delicate flavor and color. Sweet wines with a higher sugar content also contain more sulfites to prevent the remaining sugar from starting a secondary fermentation. The FDA estimates that every one out of 100 individuals has a sensitivity to sulfates and five to 10 percent of those with asthma have severe sulfite sensitivity.

wine allergy

Glycoproteins are proteins that occur in other fruits such as bananas and kiwis. These proteins are formed during the fermentation process and are also present in the grapes themselves.

Some are simply allergic to the specific grape variety used in the wine.

The most common symptoms of a wine allergy are asthma, nasal congestion, a skin rash, nausea and GI distress. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms shortly after enjoying a glass of wine at the end of the day (or let’s be honest, anytime is the right time for wine) then you should contact your Tyler, Texas allergist to schedule an appointment. While at the allergy clinic you will complete a series of tests to determine what exactly is causing your symptoms. Only then can your doctor come up with an allergy treatment plan