Relaxing doesn’t get much better than lazing around on a deck with a drink, appetizers, music and friends—until uninvited allergy symptoms show up. You might be surprised to learn that ragweed or tree pollen floating by might not be the only culprit: The adult beverage in your hand may be partially to blame. A reaction to alcohol is not the same as an allergy to food, like shellfish or nuts. While some people don’t tolerate alcohol or additives in it, such as sulfites, it’s rare to have a food allergy to wine or other alcohol. Instead, alcohol may trigger symptoms related to allergies, such as a stuffy nose. You also might experience: Flushed skin Itchy skin or throat Diarrhea Nasal congestion More Wine, More Problems If you have more than two drinks a day, you might be inadvertently causing year-round allergies, according to one study of 5,000 Danish women. After following up with the women seven years later, those who drank more than two alcoholic drinks per day were more than twice as likely to develop year-round allergies. And if you already have allergies, bronchitis or asthma, drinking wine might cause you to be more miserable. Some people—twice as likely women—who drink wine experience immediate allergy symptoms like watery, itchy eyes, runny nose and a scratchy throat. One Swedish study showed that red wine and white wine are the most common causes of alcohol-induced sneezing and a runny, stuffy nose. In studies of people who have asthma, more than 40% say they experience allergy symptoms after drinking alcohol, and 30 to 35% say their asthma is worse after drinking. What can you do if you experience any allergy symptoms while drinking alcohol? Consider switching. Red wine contains lipid transfer protein, which is found in grape skins and can be a common allergen. Because red wine comes into contact more with the skins of grapes than white wine, switching to white could solve your intolerance issues. Make a record of your symptoms and the type of alcohol. Do you get hives and a flushed face? Or simply a runny nose? With a record of our symptoms and the associated drink, your doctor or an allergy specialist can help you figure out if it’s a specific red wine, or only red wine or, perhaps, all wines. With your data, visit your doctor. There might be certain precautions you can take, such as antihistamines, to counteract the allergy effects of alcohol. However, do not treat yourself with medications without guidance from your doctor because combining some antihistamines and alcohol can have sedating, depressive side effects. Also, sometimes pain when drinking alcohol can be caused by a more serious condition, so it’s important to see your doctor. Avoid it. Sad, but true, sometimes, as with all intolerances, the best method to avoid undesirable itching and runny nose is avoiding the trigger—in this case, alcohol. Some experts think alcohol intolerance is genetic, and there’s no treatment. All the more reason to visit your doctor: If you can pinpoint your reaction to red wine, you can sip a mojito worry-free at your next party.