Allergic to Vices

Allergic to Bad Habits

Some of your favorite recreational activities can cause allergic reactions..

We all have a vice – some of these can be innocent, and some not so innocent. Whether it is drinking too much alcohol or caffeine, engaging in sexual activity, or even being addicted to exercise, vices often have a way of controlling our lives. However, it is possible to be allergic to these vices, which is certainly a good way of modifying a person’s behavior. Learn about some strange allergies to enjoyable activities that just might make your life less enjoyable.

Allergic Reactions to Alcoholic Drinks

It is possible to experience allergic reactions from drinking alcoholic beverages. The alcohol, however, is not typically the reason for these reactions. Another ingredient -- such as grapes in wine, various grains in beers (such as hops, barley, rye, corn or wheat), and the addition of yeast (for fermentation of sugars and generation of alcohol) -- may be the cause. The symptoms of these reactions may be exactly like those with any other food allergy reaction.

Allergic Reactions to Sex

While relatively rare, allergic reactions are possible during sexual intercourse. Sex allergy is likely underreported due to the private nature of the matter and the reluctance of a person to bring up the issue with their doctor. Allergic reactions to sexual activity could also be difficult to recognize, because sex involves heavy breathing, an increased heart rate, and sweating, flushing or tingling of the skin.

Therefore, mild allergic reactions during sex may go unnoticed, although more severe allergic reactions, including urticaria/angioedema, asthma symptoms, and anaphylaxis, are difficult to ignore. Most people would assume that these reactions could be caused by exposure to a latex condom, which probably would be the most common cause.

Other causes include allergy to seminal fluid (semen), gustatory rhinitis caused by strong emotions related to sex, and other symptoms related to exercise as a result of sexual activity.

Allergic Reactions to Coffee

Coffee is an extremely popular drink, not only in the United States, but around the world -- particularly in Europe. The popularity of coffee has grown over the past few decades, likely at least in part due to the success of Starbucks Coffee Company. In the past, coffee was consumed mostly in relationship to meals; people now drink coffee during all times of the day, with or without food, even as a dessert or iced beverage. All told, the world consumes 1.4 billion cups of coffee a day, with the highest consumption being in Europe. With the large amount of coffee being consumed, it would seem that many people would be experiencing allergic reactions as a result of drinking coffee.

Allergic Reactions to Marijuana

Marijuana is derived from the plant Cannabis sativa, a weed that is typically cultivated but occasionally found to grow in the wild.

Marijuana is consumed for its medicinal and recreational purposes through the inhalation of smoke from burning plant matter, as well as through oral ingestion of various parts of the plant. Cannabis sativa also produces large amounts of pollen, typically during the summer months, that is spread by the wind over long distances.

This pollen microscopically resembles Nettle, a weed pollen that commonly causes allergic symptoms. Over the past 40 years, various cases of marijuana allergy have been reported, including from smoking and ingesting various parts of the plant, as well as from exposure to the pollen.


American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. The Buzz About Wine and Beer Allergy. Accessed October 20, 2007.

Lee J, Kim S, Kim M et al. Anaphylaxis to Husband's Seminal Plasma and Treatment by Local Desensitization. Clin Mol Allergy. 2008; 6:13.

Manavski N, et al. Cof a 1: Identification, Expression and Immunoreactivity of the First Coffee Allergen. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2012;159:235-42.

Tessmera, Berlin N, Sussman G, et al. Hypersensitivity Reactions to Marijuana. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2012;108: 282-284.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this site is for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for personal care by a licensed physician. Please see your physician for diagnosis and treatment of any concerning symptoms or medical condition.

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