Hint: You may be allergic to booze.
Let’s face it — when you’re hungover, you’re probably not thinking about your sinuses. But have you ever wondered why you feel stuffy the morning after a bender?
Turns out, your whiskey sour might be what’s making you feel congested. Science has shown that wine, beer and liquor contain histamine, which is what provokes common allergy symptoms.
In a 2005 Swedish study, researchers concluded that people who’ve already been diagnosed with asthma, bronchitis and hay fever were more likely to have a runny nose after having a drink. Apparently, red wine and white wine were the most common culprits in the study. And, for whatever reason, the female participants were twice as likely to be affected by their drinks.
Another study published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy found that having more than two glasses of vino a day nearly doubles your risk of allergy symptoms — even in people who otherwise wouldn’t need to pop a Zyrtec.
If you’re reacting to your favorite adult beverages, you may even have an alcohol intolerance. The Mayo Clinic says that the most common signs include a stuffy nose, hives, low blood pressure, nausea and diarrhea.
Alcohol intolerances can be caused by a reaction to histamines, grains or other ingredients, and sulfites or other chemical preservatives.
According to the FDA, about 1% of people are sensitive to sulfites — a group of compounds found in wine and beer. The reactions can range from mild to life-threatening.
The moral of the story: If you’re having any disconcerting symptoms, such as trouble breathing, seek immediate medical care. Otherwise, fear not — it’s totally normal to feel stuffy after boozing.