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Mariah's avatar

Does an allergy to isopropyl alcohol mean anything about my chances of being allergic to alcoholic beverages?

Asked by Mariah (19237 points ) August 6th, 2011

I’m allergic to isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. My skin breaks out in an itchy rash upon contact, nothing further. I’ve never had an alcoholic beverage, but I’d like to try them someday. Am I any more likely to be allergic to alcoholic beverages due to my isopropyl allergy? Are isopropyl and ethyl alcohol even chemically related, or is it just arbitrary that they share the name?

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13 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

Pretty much the same name. I wouldn’t worry. I know this because I looked into getting drunk from rubbing alcohol.

Rarebear's avatar

I’ve never heard of an isopropanol allergy, but there could be a cross reaction. They’re chemically similar.

john65pennington's avatar

One is for topical use, the other is for consumption. I believe they are brewed two entirely different ways.

Grab a beer one night at home and have the ER on standby.

Also, have some anitihistimine handy to take, just in case.

Mariah's avatar

Thanks for your answers so far, folks.

@Rarebear It’s the darndest thing, I hadn’t heard of it either, and I definitely haven’t always been allergic. Then about 4 months ago I got a blood draw and the phlebotomist swabbed my arm beforehand as is standard. I’ve had about a million blood draws and have never reacted before, but this time I woke up the next day with an itchy arm. I repeated by doing a patch test to ensure it was the alcohol, and it was. I’m not too surprised by it as my immune system is pretty wacked out. Makes a hospital stay damn inconvenient though.

john65pennington's avatar

Could it have been something else, like the tape they place on your arm to hold down the cotton? Many people are allergic to that tape.

Mariah's avatar

Sorry John, I just edited my previous comment because I noticed it wasn’t clear, and my edit makes your question make little sense. Sorry about that. Yeah, I’m allergic to a lot of adhesives as well, but it was definitely the alcohol. They didn’t even put tape on my arm that particular time because I told them that I’m allergic to many adhesives. My immune system is nuts.

john65pennington's avatar

Hopefully, you will outgrow the immunity problem. I did. Each time I answered a police call, I thought about my low body’s immunity system. I took extra precautions for myself.

snowberry's avatar

Mariah, try swabbing alcoholic drinks on your skin, one at a time. Another thing you could do is simply put a drop inside your bottom lip. My guess is it shouldn’t be enough to put you into shock even if you do have a reaction.

Mariah's avatar

@snowberry A very smart suggestion, thanks. I patch test most new things these days before I partake because of all the allergies. I’ve never had any kind of extreme reaction to anything (nothing more serious than a rash) so I’m not ultra worried, but I feel that a reaction to something I consume would be more extreme than a reaction to something that touches me.

snowberry's avatar

@john65pennington In general you can outgrow allergies you had as a child. But allergies you acquire as an adult you keep for the rest of your life, which is unfortunate. But in my world, nothing’s impossible.

Sunny2's avatar

As suggested above, try a drop on your lip. You can taste it and see if you like it. If not, don’t be in a hurry to learn to like it. I wish I hadn’t had as much to drink as I had in my life. I could use some of whatever brain cells I destroyed then, now. I’ve never admitted to myself that I wish I hadn’t used alcohol as much as I did. I liked everything I ever drank except coffee flavored drinks. That’s including mao tai, grappa and buffalo grass vodka.

ferit's avatar

i’m also allergic to isopropanol, my skin starts to itch a few hours after i spray a deodorant (so i use sticks now). i think it started when i spilled some water/isopropanol mixture on my feet at work and it stayed on for a few hours. anyway i have been and still drink alcohol before and after i learned of this and i’m just fine. i think you’ll be too.

Mariah's avatar

^ Hey thanks. This is an old question so I can now report that I drink plenty with no problems. Woo!

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