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Why drinking alcohol will make your hay fever worse

Prima (UK) logo Prima (UK) 14/06/2018 Catriona Harvey-Jenner

Sorry, long summer days in pub gardens are a no-go if you've got hay fever.: Why drinking alcohol makes hay fever worse © Getty Images Why drinking alcohol makes hay fever worse If summer to you equals long, hot afternoons drinking pints of cider and glasses of rosé in glorious pub gardens, you're going to curse the day you developed hay fever more than ever.

Because I hate to break it to you, but alcohol makes hay fever worse. It's true. The one solace you had – getting so delightfully tipsy you don't even mind that you just sneezed for 45 minutes straight – is officially a no-go.

It's all to do with 'histamines', Dr Pixie McKenna told Cosmopolitan UK. And you'll no doubt be familiar with that term from the stashes of antihistamine tablets you've got cluttering your bathroom cabinets this time of year.

a close up of a plant: Why your hay fever is next level this year © Getty Images Why your hay fever is next level this year 'When our immune system reacts, it releases a chemical called histamine as an alert to something that it identifies as harmful to the body,' explained Dr Pixie, adding: 'It's a bit like the sprinkler system that comes on when there is a fire.'

The problem is, the doctor went on to say: 'Alcoholic drinks contain histamine, the very substance we are trying to defend ourselves against in the hay fever cycle.

'Given alcohol contains varying amounts of histamine, it is counter intuitive to ingest histamines in drinks while simultaneously taking antihistamines by mouth, as one contradicts the other,' Dr Pixie told Cosmopolitan UK.

According to the expert, red wine is a particular trigger for hay fever due to the high levels of histamine it contains.

a group of people sitting at a fruit stand: Cheers to never being able to do this again © Getty Images Cheers to never being able to do this again And Dr Pixie had another word of warning about drinking alcohol while taking antihistamine tablets for hay fever. 'Alcohol can increase the potentially sedative effects of antihistamines, so the two are not a good combination,' she advised.

So it's up to you: you can pretend you never read this article and wonder why oh why your hay fever is so appallingly bad after a boozy picnic in the park; or you can follow the wise doctor's advice and lay off the G&Ts et al until the summer season passes.

Related: Stop sneezing! Try these 10 tips to keep pollen allergy at bay

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