Alcohol and Epinephrine: Do They Mix?
When you go off to college, the topic of alcohol is bound to come up. Alcoholic drinks are commonly served at social events for those who are 21 years old and older, and we are often asked about the effects that alcohol might have when combined with epinephrine. To find out, we asked Dr. Clifton T. Furukawa, an allergist and clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington, School of Medicine, Seattle, WA, and a member of FAAN’s Medical Advisory Board. Here is his answer.
“If a person has had alcoholic drinks and then needs epinephrine, the epinephrine will still be effective. However, alcohol use does present a risk to food-allergic individuals. When alcohol is consumed, judgment, timing, and muscle coordination are adversely affected. Thus, people may take chances they should not, may misjudge what is occurring, and may allow food contamination to occur just by mishandling. Additionally, their ability to recognize a reaction, give themselves medications, and summon help may be affected.
“Further, and especially for college-age, food-allergic individuals, foods to be avoided may actually intentionally be given as a ‘prank’ or ‘joke.’ Not only is your judgment impaired, but the judgment and behavior of others are affected by alcohol.”
Additionally, alcohol may increase the rate in which a food allergen is absorbed, therefore resulting in a quicker onset of symptoms. So, as you head off to college and reach your 21st birthday, please be careful!
Want to know more about going out in college with food allergies?
Read about Laura’s experiences going to parties with her friends.