Being kissed by someone who has eaten something you are allergic to can trigger an allergic reaction in you, say researchers at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Phoenix, Arizona. The kissing partner with an allergy may still have a reaction, even if the other person waits for hours before kissing, or brushes their teeth thoroughly.
American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) President, allergist Sami Bahna, MD, said:
“If you have food allergies, having an allergic reaction immediately after kissing someone who has eaten the food or taken oral medication that you are allergic to isn’t highly unusual. But some patients react after their partner has brushed his or her teeth or several hours after eating. It turns out that their partners’ saliva is excreting the allergen hours after the food or medicine has been absorbed by their body.
‘Kissing’ allergies are most commonly found in people who have food or medication allergies. Symptoms include swelling of the lips or throat, rash, hives, itching and wheezing. Food allergies affect about 2 to 3 percent of adults and 5 to 7% of children in the U.S. population, or more than 7 million people, according to the ACAAI.
If the urge to kiss is there, what can the couple do about it? Experts advise the partner without an allergy to brush their teeth, rinse their mouths out thoroughly, and to avoid placing anything in their mouths the other person is allergic to for 16 to 24 hours – then they can probably enjoy a kiss. However, sometimes even these measures are not enough.
Dr. Bahna, describes a 30-year old male patient who is allergic peanuts and has had recurrent anaphylaxis – a severe and sometimes fatal reaction to peanuts. The patient, also a doctor himself, would kiss his girlfriend and then break out with a mouth itch and swelling of the lips. Two hours after eating peanuts she had brushed her teeth carefully, rinsed out her mouth many times, and chewed gum before giving him a kiss.
When partner intimacy goes beyond just a kiss, allergic reactions can occur for a variety of reasons in different parts of the body. Some people’s bodies cannot tolerate their partner’s sperm, others find spermicides, latex and various lubricants trigger a reaction. In some cases the partner’s or even their own bodies cause an allergic reaction, as may occur by the release of natural chemical when we are physically and emotionally aroused during sex.
People who are allergic to sperm have two options, say Dr. Bahna. They can either use a condom, or undergo immunotherapy (desensitization) with a professional allergist. In milder cases antihistamines may work.
Dr. Bahna said:
“There may be more who are suffering from this than we know because people may be embarrassed to bring it up. But allergists can help determine what’s causing the allergy and find the right treatment. No one has to suffer.”
A professional allergist can identify the source of the patient’s problem and develop a plan to get rid of it.
Source: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Written by Christian Nordqvist