HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Are you making a specialty food? Get great advice
TELL US

Allergic Reaction to Margaritas

l
lesacollett Oct 1, 2009 07:56 AM

I have experienced no food/drug allergies my entire life. However, over the past year or so, every time I have a Margarita at a particular Mexican Restaurant, I have an allergic reaction. My breathing becomes heavy and my face gets very red and I get whelps on my arms. This does not happen when I have any other Margarita or any other types of alcohol, etc. I am just curious to know what might be causing this reaction. Thanks

  1. Azizeh Oct 3, 2009 01:13 PM

    Time to head to the Allergist.

    I've never been allergic to anything in my life. One late-evening, walked into a diner. Sat down, hadn't touched anything and got really hot and couldn't breath. My boyfriend rushed me to the ER down the street and I was covered in hives. No idea what I reacted to, since I didn't eat or drink a thing there.

    I did some allergy testing and it turns out I'm severely allergic to a few things, so now I have an Epi-Pen, in case of emergencies. I think that reaction means you're likely to be allergic to other things, too. Get tested and be careful!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Azizeh
      j
      jujuthomas Oct 3, 2009 04:57 PM

      that is just about my worst nightmare! had dinner one night (not by my choice) at a resto where over 1/2 the menu items had walnuts or pecans in them! I was terrified, but the waitress was awesome and very knowledgeable, and i got thru the meal, including desert w/o any problems. course if u tell them they'll have to call 911 if you get any nuts, they tend to pay attention!

      1. re: Azizeh
        c
        cinnamon girl Oct 3, 2009 07:59 PM

        Dreadful. Just out of curiosity, were they all food items you were allergic too? Airborne spores or something?

        1. re: cinnamon girl
          Azizeh Oct 3, 2009 11:50 PM

          It was just particularly scary because I had no known allergies and had no idea why I couldn't breathe all of a sudden.

          There was a fairly long list. They do the testing and rate you 1-5. Something like 3 and above is what you need to be be careful about. I was semi-allergic to a whole bunch of stuff that I regularly eat without any problems. Limes, for one, oddly enough.

          I was also allergic to dog hair (but I have a dog and he doesn't bother me) but I found out I'm deathly allergic to some kind of pollen that blows around in the Santa Ana winds. Go figure. I never found out what set me off that night. Maybe it was someone's perfume or could've been that pesky pollen.

          I've also been having a reaction to lip gloss. I'm 27 and have always worn lipgloss, but the allergy is just coming out now. So, I'll probably go back for some cosmetic testing next. Sigh.

          1. re: Azizeh
            c
            cinnamon girl Oct 5, 2009 10:38 PM

            Good luck Azizeh. Some of those lip glosses have those agents that make your lips tingly and puffed a bit. I wonder if more and more of them are including that stuff, but maybe at levels low enough to fly under the radar. Hopefully, they'll lessen with time, like Juju and dairy.

      2. im_nomad Oct 2, 2009 05:12 PM

        I'm with meatn3, a lot of restaurants seem to deviate from the "simple" margarita recipe, who knows whats in there. I also agree that while with some allergies, exposure seems to lessen it (that was a friend's experience with cats), with food it seems to be the alternate.

        BTW, I sure hope that the margaritas didn't give you whelps as that means you had puppies appear on your arms !!! Those are some margaritas !!! ;) (couldn't resist)

        1 Reply
        1. re: im_nomad
          q
          queencru Oct 3, 2009 08:19 AM

          I agree with you about food allergies. I can't have alcohol at all. Initially I could have a little bit and it wasn't too big a deal, but now just smelling certain beers and red wine triggers asthma attacks fairly quickly. Needless to say, with that type of reaction you aren't going to try to build up your tolerance.

        2. c
          cinnamon girl Oct 1, 2009 08:33 PM

          I read an awful story a year or two ago about a woman with a peanut allergy who died drinking a margarita. She was extremely careful about everything she ate but of course it never occurred to her to question the margarita mix. Turned out there was some nut product in the mix. Obviously in your case it's not a nut allergy but do be careful Lesacollett! A friend used to have a slight reaction from eggplant (tingling tongue), but she loved the eggplant dish in an Indian resto we used to go to so much that she insisted on ordering it every time and limiting her tastes. (I pleaded with her not to do this.) Anyway, one evening she insisted and after a bite her tongue had swollen so badly she could barely breathe. Happily, she's still with us - and doesn't eat eggplant anymore. Her doc said the repeated exposures had just worn down what resistance she had to it. I repeat - LC do pls be careful.

          6 Replies
          1. re: cinnamon girl
            j
            jujuthomas Oct 2, 2009 06:44 AM

            As a child I developed a slight allergy to walnuts. Even tho I've strictly limited my exposure to them it has gotten sooo much worse, as in life threatening. I now always carry antihistamine and an epi-pen with me, and if I don't mention it to the server when we go out, DH will, especially when there are nuts listed on the menu.
            LC, I sincerely hope you will not drink any more of those margaritas! This is your life you could be messing with and (as much as I LOVE a good 'rita) it isn't worth it! It can take mere moments for Anaphylaxis to take your life. https://www.google.com/health/ref/Ana...

            1. re: jujuthomas
              c
              cinnamon girl Oct 2, 2009 08:48 PM

              Sorry to hear this Juju. Do have any theories as to why it became worse over the years? Sometimes you hear of people outgrowing childhood nut allergies. You take care too!

              1. re: cinnamon girl
                j
                jujuthomas Oct 3, 2009 06:50 AM

                i have no theories, because other allergies have improved slightly. Fortunately I was never a big nut eater, I don't like crunchy things in my baked goods, so I don't miss it! it is a pain to have to be so careful, but once it's part of your routine it isn't a problem. :)

                1. re: cinnamon girl
                  Karl S Oct 3, 2009 07:43 AM

                  For many allergens, if you practice elimination (rather than building tolerance very gradually over a long period of time), the allergic reaction intensifies over time.

                  1. re: Karl S
                    j
                    jujuthomas Oct 3, 2009 07:51 AM

                    hmmm... that could explain why now I have almost no tolerance to be around people who own cats - let alone visiting their homes! and why my dairy allergy (sensitivity) is not as bad as it used to be. I just can't seem to avoid dairy! :)
                    that nut allergy tho - since it started with swelling of the tongue and throat is not one I'm going to try to build up a tolerance with! LOL

                    1. re: Karl S
                      c
                      cinnamon girl Oct 3, 2009 07:52 PM

                      Oh that's interesting ... little hairs of the dog periodically. Unless, as Juju says, your throat closes up!

              2. mrbigshotno.1 Oct 1, 2009 03:29 PM

                Some places, to save money, use bleach as a sanitizer(it's basically outlawed in most states these days. If you use it properly and lightly there is really no problem) However, some places will over do it in a final rinse sink behind the bar, and if the barglasses are not completely dry and they make a drink in them you may be getting a jolt of bleach. Might be your problem, just a thought.

                1. vacationmomma Oct 1, 2009 08:21 AM

                  They may be using fresh lime juice. Some folks with oral allergies have a reaction to citrus that isn't pasteurized.

                  1. meatn3 Oct 1, 2009 08:16 AM

                    There is probably an ingredient in their margarita mix that you are reacting to. Ask them which brand mix they use and try to get a copy of the ingredients. Since your breathing is involved, it would be wise to speak with your doctor and avoid the margaritas at that restaurant. Allergies often become worse with additional exposure - sometimes life threatening.

                    Show Hidden Posts