Alcohol makes gives me flu/cold-like symptoms?


Q: Hi, recently after drinking alcohol (any kind, and no matter how little), I've been getting cold-like symptoms two days after. It ALWAYS starts the same way: the night after, my throat starts to get itchy, and then my nose starts to run very clear and runny liquid. Then by the morning, I feel very sick, my nose is constantly running, I usually have a cough, I feel just generally run-down, and I get nauseated but never throw up. This is occasionally accompanied by a fever or a migraine, but not always. A couple days ago I drank half a 5% beer, and this still happened. I'm getting really tired of this, as it's really affecting my social life. I'm not a big drinker anymore and drink maybe once every 2 months. I'm 21, female, very healthy and exercise 6-10 hours per week (running, workout classes, etc.). Please help me! This has only occurred in recent months, but now happens every time I drink. I only ever get sick when I drink, and I'm starting to think I may just never be able to drink again.

Symptoms:  Sneezing, runny nose, coughing, body aches, nausea

A:   Thank you for contacting ask the doctor.
Alcohol can cause sore throat because of the ice and excess cold drink consumption with it. That could be the reason for the coughing. Alcohol is also the dehydrating agent which may stress the body causing the fatigue (body aches ).
Please understand that the alcohol metabolism plays a very important role in the tolerance of alcohol. Lack of metabolic enzymes like Alcohol Dehydrogenase or aldehyde dehydrogenase may cause illness nausea vomiting after having small amounts of alcohol.
Sometimes individuals get allergic to substances they were not before. An irritated stomach may also initiate nausea vomiting immediately after alcohol consumption.
I recommend a visit to the physician and getting the liver enzymes checked, CBC, Hematological check up, GI tract examination done.
Your physician would be able to provide you with the absolute diagnosis and treat you accordingly.
I hope this information was useful.

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