Alcohol Could Trigger Asthma Attacks

If you enjoy a drink and have asthma or hay fever, you may want to stop.

As the colder months roll in so too does the appeal of a good, blood-warming alcoholic beverage while curling up in from of your fireplace or heater after a long day at work.

However, if you suffer from seasonal or persistent hay fever or worse, asthma, you’d probably be better off reaching for the hot chocolate instead.

Ever wondered why your allergies flare or you start wheezing and your chest tightens up after being a little too liberal with your liquid libations?

That’s because, according to Asthma UK, some drinks contain a chemical that actually trigger asthma and hay fever flare-ups.

Supporting these sentiments, Doctor Andy Whittamore who is a Huffington Post in-house GP and Asthma UK clinical lead, says it’s because some alcoholic drinks contain high levels of histamine – a natural chemical that the body makes when it responds to allergies.

“What we do know is that some alcoholic drinks such as beer and wine contain high levels of histamine. In fact, we take anti-histamine medicines to help stop the symptoms of hay fever.

Whittamore also points out that the chemical is the reason why some people find they have an allergy to alcohol, and why some people find their hay fever gets worse with alcohol.

According to Asthma UK, drinks more likely to trigger asthma symptoms are:

  • Red wine
  • White wine,
  • Cider

Although clear spirits like gin and vodka are considered more “asthma friendly” because they contain less histamine and fewer sulphites, Whittamore cautions against alcohol consumption and stresses that asthma sufferers always adhere to their medicine prescriptions.

For more information about triggers and how to manage your asthma and allergies, log onto South Africa’s National Asthma Education Programme website at

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