If anyone needs another good reason to enjoy a gin and tonic, here it is.
The long drink is said to relieve the symptoms of hay fever. This makes spring and summer twice as fun, especially for people plagued by pollen allergies.
Hay fever and alcohol don’t get along well
The nose is running, the throat is scratching, the eyes are watering, the head hurts, people with allergies often feel tired when the pollen is flying, especially in spring and summer. The glorious weather turns into agony.
Experts recommend people avoid alcohol during this time because it can make symptoms worse. Anyone suffering from a pollen allergy should avoid beer and red wine in particular.
However, the reason for this is not so much the alcohol but rather the histamines that are produced during the production of the beverage together with yeast and bacteria.
If you have hay fever, your body produces more histamine when it comes into contact with pollen – this triggers the hay fever symptoms. The last thing allergic individuals need is more histamine.
But one drink in particular seems to be the exception and rarely causes problems: gin and tonic.
Why is gin and tonic the exception?
One study shows that 75 percent of people who have asthma or allergies they interviewed get worse symptoms from alcohol. First and foremost, dark, fermented drinks are the culprits because they are high in histamines and sulphites.
Clear alcohol such as gin and vodka is less likely to cause these problems, the Asthma UK researchers found.
In most cases, gin in particular is sulfite-free or low in sulfite, and recently more vodka manufacturers have been making sure to keep sulfite levels as low as possible.
So if you don’t want to do without alcohol despite a pollen allergy, you should grab a gin and tonic. It doesn’t relieve the symptoms, but at least it doesn’t make them worse.
On the other hand, if you fancy a glass of wine, you should make sure that the wine contains little or no sulfite.
In general, the advice to drink alcohol in moderation and responsibly still applies.
Vally, H. et al. (2000): Alcoholic drinks: Important triggers for asthma, retrieved on May 12, 2022: https://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(00)25009-4/fulltext