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Does alcohol make asthma symptoms worse?

Hi I am new here but wondering if it is common for alcohol to trigger asthma symptoms and tight chest etc. I am unable to drink wine, lager or dark coloured spirits because my asthma symptoms start straight away. This all started as a child with lemon squash and it would always make me wheeze ! I'm thinking of going teetotal but thats a bit boring. Any tips?

10 Replies

It may not be alcohol as such, more the preservatives used in them. Alot of people find that they can't drink certain kinds of alcohol because of the flavourings etc in them. I think the correct name is salicytate, but I may be wrong.

Personally I just don't drink anyway, so couldn't tell you lol x


A lot of alcohol, wine, liquers, port, rum, sherry, beer, brandy are high a=in salicylates as are fruit cordials, squashes, juices and fizzy drinks. Salicylate sensitivities are also common amongst us apparently as it is lunked to aspirin sensitivity, I am on a low salicylate in take diet because of this and the only drinks not high in salicylates are decaff coffee, milk, soya milk, ovaltine, rice milk water, gin, vodka and whiskey. Exciting selection huh?!!


I'm the same with lemon squash!

My tipple of choice is G&T, which seems to be fine for me. I can drink other drinks, e.g. wine, in small amounts.

I am on several medications that don't go well with alcohol, and have quite complex medical requirements, so need to be sober enough to be in full control, which makes the decision not to drink (much) easier!

Perhaps try some of the other suggested salicylate-free drinks, rather than going completely teetotal if you think that would be a bit miserable ;)


Thanks for your replies - Its possible I could have this sensitivity as I had noticed that I don't get any symptoms when I drink vodka . I also have a nasal polyp which I think could be connected to this problem. I have a nasonex nasal spray which helps to shrink polyps - this is a problem because I had completely lost my sense of taste and also smell !

Special diet here I come !


Sulphites are used as a preservative in many wines and alcoholic drinks (normally marked on the bottle). Salicylate occurs naturally in foods such as fruit, vegetables and herbs so could also be present in cordials and some alohols. Also some squashes contain citric acid which is made by Aspergillus fermentation, which is a mold and you should consider avoiding it if you have known aspergillus allergy. Unfortunately citric acid is lots of processed foods so will limit your choices severely.


hi in total agreement!!!

i have had to go teetotal with the exception of drinking vodka... every other alcoholic beverage causes an attack :( the worst of which being lager :(

x x x



There is nothing wrong with being teetotal. Alcohol is bad for you regardless of whether you are asthmatic or not. I stopped drinking many years ago when I realsed how much damage I was doing to my system, not to mention the cost involved. I have been healthier since and to be honest I don't really miss it that much. As for being boring, well I'd rather be boring than ill. I suppose the odd drink every now and then can't do much harm. But why bother when then there are so many other beverages out there that are much nicer and more healthy.

All the best.



I'm with Dave. My drink was two gin and slimline tonics on a Monday night until our local social club started saving money and went for cheaper brands. Started getting really bad feeling after only one drink and like a really bad hangover the next day. Nowadays, I stick to soft drinks. On the plus side that means no hanging about in a taxi queue on a wet night as I can take the car.


I have to say I drink alcohol very,very rarely and then stick to Gin and Tonic...I find wines are my major trigger, so just don't drink it. Don't like larger or beer, and don't really like the drunk feeling. Also when I have been in costa have seen some young people, mostly women with liver disease caused by drink and that is horrendous...wouldn't wish that on anyone.


I am now seriously beginning to think I should just give up drinking alcohol altogether. You are right Dave its better to be boring than ill! And I suppose its one less thing to worry about.

Thanks again! :)


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