20 April 2016, 19:35

Expats ask - doctors answer...
Can the allergy to alcohol be associated with the country of origin of the drink?

"In Russia, I started to suffer from recurrent episodes of allergy after drinking locally produced red wine: my cheeks become dry and red and some red spots develop all over the body. Sometimes I take antihistamines and the problem resolves. Sometimes I don't take antihistamines and the problem also resolves, but a little bit later."

Well, the chance that this is a true allergy is 1 against 10. In case it is a true allergy, in addition to the spots on the face, you should have some other symptoms like a runny nose, red eyes, itchy rash across the body, or lips swelling. In this case, you should immediately take antihistamines and contact a doctor as you may need a serious help.

But most probably it's so called "false allergy" or "pseudoallergy". It may resemble true allergic reaction, but really it is much less severe and it can't kill you, as it may happen with a true allergy. 

Pseudoallergy is caused by the inability of your enzymes to destroy extensive amounts of histamine - a natural substance stored in everybody's body cells, which, when released into the blood, causes itching, redness, oedema - i.e. allergy symptoms (histamine is a short living substance, that is chemically destroyed by our natural defenders).

After the ingestion of, for example, a red wine, its substances, for unknown reasons may (or may not) cause a whole burst of histamine. Our natural histamine-neutralizing system gets overloaded and the histamine starts doing its "bad job".

The country of origin of drinks and food cannot affect the appearance of pseudoallergy because pseudoallergy is caused by natural ingredients such as tyramine, the powerful stimulator of histamine, which is contained in wine and cheese regardless of their origin.

Good news about pseudoallergy is:

Dr Oleg Togoev, MD, PhD, allergist-immunologist
Medical Director in GMS CLINIC Moscow

The Allergy & Immunology Center at GMS Clinic offers the following:

The goal of our Allergy and Immunology Center is not only to relieve symptoms but also to cure the illness, which originates from an improper immune response. Through proper diagnosis and assessment of your immune system, we will help eliminate your allergy complications.

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