JUST when you thought the plague of pollen was all you had to worry about this summer, it turns out booze can wreak havoc for hay fever sufferers as well.
So if your favourite thing to do in the summer is sit in the park with your friends and knock back a few glasses of rose wine, you might want to think twice.
Getty – Contributor The histamines in alcohol can actually make your hay fever worse
Alcohol can actually worsen the symptoms of hay fever, and it all comes down to a chemical called histamine.
Histamine is a chemical produced naturally in our bodies in response to allergies.
It’s what’s responsible for your runny, stuffy nose, itchy eyes, rashes and any other allergic reaction symptoms you get.
That’s why we are told to take antihistamines to manage hay fever, because the drug helps inhibit how much of the chemical our body releases.
Getty – Contributor Histamine is a chemical produced naturally in our bodies in response to allergies like hay fever
To make matters worse some booze is worse than others because it contains histamines – like red wine – so if you’re prone to the tell-tale runny nose and itchy eyes of hay fever choose your tipple wisely.
“This is probably only for a minority of people, but theoretically alcohol can make hay fever worse,” Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and clinical director of Patient.info, told The Sun Online.
“For instance, beer contains histamines and that’s the main trigger for hay fever.
“Sulphites are preservatives that are found in many alcohols and they can make it worse as well.
Getty – Contributor Beer is high in histamines so could give you a runny nose and itchy eyes
“Red wine and beer are high in histamine on the whole and white wine and cider tend to be higher in sulphites.”
The good news is, Dr Jarvis said the reaction you might get from alcohol isn’t enough to warrant a teetotal summer.
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Arguably spending your day in a grassy field is much worse for your hay fever than a glass of wine.
But if you naturally have a bad reaction to the histamines in booze you still need to be mindful.
“Histamines boost the flow of blood in the area that they are released and that leads to inflammation,” Dr Jarvis explained.
“For instance, if your nose is affected by pollen the histamines are released in that area which is why many people find their nose is blocked as well as runny.
Alamy A clear spirit like a gin and tonic is your best bet if you suffer hay fever because it contains no histamine
“You can also produce more mucus as a result of the extra blood flow and inflammation, that can result in sneezing as well as blockage, itching in the eyes and coughing.
“On the whole [when ingesting histamines]they tend to work more on the gut.
“So the thing about hay fever and alcohol is that most of the histamines are working on your gut, and that’s why I say it might not have a huge impact.”
But if you really must drink, a nice cold gin and tonic is your best option.
That’s because clear spirits, like gin and vodka, don’t contain any histamines.
Gin also contains no sulphites, so it’s particularly good for people who are suffering from itchy eyes and a runny nose.