Zantac: my life saver

Okay, maybe not my “life” saver but more like “lifestyle”. I first reacted to alcohol on my 5th anniversary dinner date with hubby. I took a couple sips of my Riesling while waiting for our main course to be served, and not long after my ears started to feel hot. Then I felt the heat move slowly towards my face and hubby told me to go look at myself in the mirror. What I saw totally freaked me out. I had blotches of red spots on my face, neck and ears and the redness kept spreading.

It just kept getting hotter. We were at Milestones by YD Square and there’s a Shoppers Drug Mart at the lower level. So I left hubby in the restaurant while I ran downstairs to talk to the pharmacist. “What the hell is wrong with me?” I asked her, completely freaking out. I told her I had wine and some white sauce that came with my scallop appetizers. She said, “It looks like you’re allergic to alcohol. You’ve got hives. Take 2 Benadryls now.” Darn, I was hoping it was the white sauce.

So I bought Benadryl, ran back up to Milestones and took 2. Within 5 minutes I felt better. I was so thankful at that very moment for the life we have in downtown Toronto. Thankful that there’s an SDM on the lower level of where we were having dinner. I was able to continue our anniversary date like nothing had happened.

I mentioned this to a friend of mine and she said this is common amongst Asians. It’s called Asian Flush. Seriously, how did I just suddenly develop Asian Flush? Through Google, I found out that the reason Asians get this reaction to alcohol is that we lack an enzyme called ALDH2, which helps break down the poisonous byproduct of alcohol. As for why I just got it now, is still unknown. I must have had this enzyme once upon a time, but somehow lost it.

My friend told me to take Zantac. Yup, zantac, the antacid. I figured, why not, it doesn’t hurt to try. And oh what a miracle zantac is. When I got that reaction the first time I was so upset. I thought it meant I could never drink alcohol ever again! How horrible would that be? That’s like almost as bad as being allergic to chocolates, which I’m not, thank god!

A couple of weeks ago, I was cooking with wine and decided to have a glass. I forgot to take my zantac and only after 2 sips, I started to get really hot. I felt the heat spread from my ears to my face and it seriously felt like my face was on fire. I immediately took 2 Benadryls and splashed my face with cold water. The cold water didn’t help and the Benadryl took longer to kick in this time around. I ended up with an icepack on my face. That’s how hot it got.

Well, lesson learned. I’ll never forget my zantac again. Zantac, zantac, my life saver. Because of it I can still drink my wine. Oh what would I do without my wine?  I mean, I’d be okay if my face just turns red. But it’s not the redness I’m worried about. It’s the fact that my face feels like it’s on fire.

Zantac apparently has H2 blockers and this is what helps alleviate the symptoms of Asian Flush. I don’t know what these H2 blockers do and I don’t know what the long-term side effects are for taking zantac, but I don’t drink enough to worry about it too much. For now, I’m just grateful there’s something to prevent me from getting that awful reaction when I drink alcohol.

Posted on November 18, 2012, in Health & Fitness and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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