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Allergic to alcohol?

Posted

Specializes in Geriatrics. Has 1 years experience.

Is it possible to be allergic to isopropyl alcohol? When I get blood drawn I get this horrible rash for 2-3 days. Itching only eases with hydrocortisone. I also have to touch alcohol a lot at work without gloves and it causes a burning sensation in my fingers and something that looks like bubbles underneath my skin. I am going to get checked out by my doctor but I was wondering if you guys had ever heard of that or had patients with a similar allergy. I feel weird for being allergic to rubbing alcohol lol 😑

BeachsideRN, ASN

Specializes in NICU, Trauma, Oncology. Has 7 years experience.

Yes. It can happen

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 27 years experience.

Best wishes at your doctors appt.

KatieMI, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine. Has 8 years experience.

No, one physically cannot be truly allergic to isopropyl (as well as ethyl, methyl and other small molecule alcohols). There molecules are too small and too chemically inert to elicit immune responce.

What you describe is local dermatitis caused, most probably, by injury of the superficial epithelium and drying skin, otherwise known as "rub burn". As any other inflammation, it is suppressed by steroids. Also, one can be allergic to components of the package of the wipes (they may or may not be latex-free).

Multiple types of reactions people describe after using or consuming alcohol caused by other components, sulfites (wine conservants), tyramine (red wine and beer), monosodium glutamate (beer), abnormal activity of ethanoldehydrogenase, etc., but newer the ethanol itself.

sneaky_des

Specializes in Geriatrics. Has 1 years experience.

No, one physically cannot be truly allergic to isopropyl (as well as ethyl, methyl and other small molecule alcohols). There molecules are too small and too chemically inert to elicit immune responce.

What you describe is local dermatitis caused, most probably, by injury of the superficial epithelium and drying skin, otherwise known as "rub burn". As any other inflammation, it is suppressed by steroids. Also, one can be allergic to components of the package of the wipes (they may or may not be latex-free).

Multiple types of reactions people describe after using or consuming alcohol caused by other components, sulfites (wine conservants), tyramine (red wine and beer), monosodium glutamate (beer), abnormal activity of ethanoldehydrogenase, etc., but newer the ethanol itself.

Thank you, that makes a lot of sense. Can this alcohol still be used as a disinfectant?

KatieMI, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine. Has 8 years experience.

Yes, but try different brands whenever possible when you are at work. Some of them are just more drying than others. Old-fashioned hand washing may work better, I prefer to just wash my hands for this reason alone. And use moisturizing hand cream at any moment you can.