Dr Pixie gives advice on alcohol allergies
A: Alcohol makes everyone's blood vessels dilate, which can lead to fl ushing. But some of us are unable to fully break down the by-products of alcohol because we don't produce enough of the right enzyme, and this causes the blotchiness you describe. Certain medications can make it worse - such as antibiotics and some painkillers - so talk to your GP if you're taking anything. Spicy food and MSG, which is found in Chinese food, can make it worse. As you've found, wine, along with beer and sherry, is one of the major culprits because it can contain histamine and sulphites. There's no medical cure, but as a rule of thumb, the clearer the drink, the less chance there is of a reaction - although beware of cheap white wine as it's usually loaded with sulphites.
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