Beer Allergy

What Is A Beer Allergy?

A beer allergy is an adverse immune response to certain ingredients in beer. These ingredients may include malt barley and brewer’s yeast, along with hops or assorted flavorings. True beer allergies are rare, and you may actually have an intolerance to beer. However, it’s important to seek a proper diagnosis to determine if you do have a true beer allergy.

A 2014 study about beer allergy found that sensitivity to sorghum or sorghum malt was the most common cause of beer allergy. Some patients also reacted to barley, hops, or yeast. Many patients who suffer from a wheat allergy also react to barley in beer. Below is a list of symptoms you may experience if you are allergic to beer.

Beer Allergy Symptoms

  • Flushing
  • Hives
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Hoarseness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Tightness of the chest

Symptoms may be mild or severe. An allergic reaction to beer usually happens within a couple of hours. Allergic reactions that involve hives, wheezing, and chest pain may occur almost immediately. If you experience these symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention.

If your symptoms are very mild, you may have a beer sensitivity rather than a true allergy. It can be uncomfortable, but it’s not an immune system response and isn’t as serious. You can take over-the-counter medications to relieve milder symptoms such as sneezing. 

Beer Allergy Diagnosis

The best way to determine if you have a beer allergy is to visit an allergist near you. An allergist can perform specific allergy tests to diagnose allergies. One of the easiest ways to diagnose allergies is to perform a skin prick allergy test. This test takes about 15 minutes to diagnose allergies. If your allergist cannot use a skin prick test to diagnose beer allergy, there are other methods like an elimination diet or provocation test.

During an elimination test, you should avoid beer to see if your symptoms subside. In contrast, a provocation test means consuming a small amount of beer to see if it evokes a reaction. You should never attempt a provocation test on your own. These challenges should be done in a clinical setting like NY Allergy & Sinus Centers.

Beer Allergy Treatment

If you’re allergic to beer, the best treatment is avoidance. Although most beer allergy symptoms aren’t life-threatening, it’s important to stay away from the ingredients you are allergic to. If you are allergic to barley in beer, you should avoid other foods and drinks that contain this ingredient. 
At NY Allergy & Sinus Centers, we provide a full personalized treatment plan for allergies. This includes what medications to take and how to talk to your friends and family about your allergy. Just schedule an appointment online or call (212) 686-6321.

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