There is a very distinct difference between an alcohol flush reaction and alcohol allergy. Many people, because of misinformation spread around the internet or perhaps because of a lack of personal knowledge often confuse the two. Asian flush is not an allergic reaction, although the symptoms may seem similar. Very often, allergic reactions are associated with shortness of breath, rashes, hives, a rapid heart beat, and swelling, amongst other symptoms. To be honest, these are all symptoms of Asian flush. However, the reason for these reactions is very different, and therefore alcohol allergy and alcohol flush reaction should be treated differently.
An allergy is, in simple terms, a mistake made by our bodies. Substances normally harmless to us are incorrectly perceived as harmful, and our body reacts accordingly. Increased heart rate, swelling, itching, and all the symptoms associated with allergic reactions are due to histamines, substances released by the body to attack harmful intruders. However, these substances are not only falsely perceive these harmless substances, they are released in such great amounts that sometimes the person suffering from an allergic reaction can lose consciousness and die.
You’ve probably heard of antihistamines. These are typical treatment for less serious allergic reactions like sneezing, sore eyes, a runny nose, or rashes. More serious reactions resulting in anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock which can be treated with an “EpiPen” containing epinephrine or adrenaline. The adrenaline works to tighten blood vessels, raising blood pressure from dangerously low levels, and increases blood flow to vital organs like the brain and heart. It also relaxes airways making breathing easier and makes the heart beat stronger and faster.
Asian Flush is something completely different. It is an inability to metabolize alcohol correctly. Because of a ALDH2 enzyme deficiency, sufferers of Asian flush are not able to break down the byproduct of alcohol metabolism called acetaldehyde. The byproduct is toxic and if left to build up in the body can cause the red face, swelling, hives, nausea, and dizziness associated with Asian flush. Common cures for Asian flush include certain OTC drugs like antacids and certain antihistamines containing H2 blockers.
These can slow down the metabolism of alcohol and thus the production of acetaldehyde. Because of the lack of research in to the condition, there is no one hundred percent cure, but certain products on the market claim to provide a cure with patented tonics or pills. One product known as the No Red Face Formula states that they can teach you to cure your Asian flush with techniques they provide in an e-book. Their offer is backed up by a money back guarantee and 10,000 satisfied customers.
So, now that you understand that these two conditions, although may share similar symptoms, are actually the caused by two very different deficiencies in our body. If you are experiencing alcohol flush reaction and jab yourself with an EpiPen the results would be disastrous. Likewise, if you were to take antacids to cure your alcohol allergy, you would probably see little effect. Consult a doctor or do the proper research to find the correct solution.