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Beer Allergy – Say it Ain’t So

mug of beer for allergy article

Are you allergic to beer?

Do you think you have a beer allergy?  If you don’t know a lot about how beer is made you may think it doesn’t make sense but beer is full of a bunch of different ingredients that can possibly cause an allergic reaction.  If your symptoms have been relatively mild like congestion and a runny nose odds are if you really like beer you can basically just ignore your beer allergy symptoms.  If your symptoms have been more dramatic then it’s time to investigate your options.

There are many kinds of beer nowadays.  No longer are you stuck with Miller, Michelob and Coors.  Beers have gone upscale in many cases with many folks preferring beers like Amstel Light or Sam Adams just to name a couple.  If you are of Irish descent(or not) you may appreciate a good old Guiness now an then.  This doesn’t even cover the breweries that make their own ales.  This makes the job of identifying what causes your beer allergy that much more difficult.

There are a few allergens that can be causing your beer allergy:

  • Hops
  • Barley
  • Yeast
  • Gluten
  • Wheat
  • Sulphates

Keep in mind that a beer allergies are not that common but if you suspect one you need to look at the above ingredients in your diet for clues.  Beer is flavored with hops and sometimes even fruits so it may not be the obvious brewers yeast that is causing your beer allergy.  Wheat allergies and gluten allergies have also increased of late so those may be culprits as well.  Malted barley is also a big candidate since those with pollen allergies may have barley as a trigger.

The symptoms of a beer allergy can be mild like a congested or runny nose but sometimes the allergic reaction can be more severe like those who suffer from Oral Allergy Syndrome.  In that case the beer allergy symptoms can include a swollen tongue and lips, tingling face and hives. Symptoms can include dizziness, coughing, tightness in the chest and even a white coating on their tongue.  Those with a brewers yeast allergy will exhibit symptoms associated with yeast allergies in general.  These could include a sore throat, nausea, sneezing, diarrhea, heartburn, rashes on the skin and possibly stomach pain.

Treating your beer allergy will depend on how severe it is.  Mild symptoms probably don’t require much since the symptoms usually disappear by themselves.  Those with asthma type symptoms really need to consult with their doctor since using antihistamines and adrenaline injections may make symptoms worse.  These types of symptoms can be life threatening since they can lead to anaphylaxis.

As rare as a beer allergy can be it may even require hospitalization with a host of aggressive treatments that could include intravenous fluids, bronchodilators, steroids and adrenaline.  Hopefully if you do experience beer allergy symptoms they will be mild and manageable with over the counter meds like antihistamines(if asthma isn’t present) or nasal sprays for your congestion.  Sadly the simple and straightforward solution might be to pass on that pint of beer completely.

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