Santa Monica, CA–
Got Valentine’s Day covered this year? Remember to steer clear of anything that might cause your sweetheart to break out in hives, or worse yet, have a severe allergic reaction.
“Chocolates and flowers are lovely, but not if they cause an allergic response” says allergist Dr. Bernard Geller, Allergy & Clinical Immunology Medical Group. “You need to be vigilant when it comes to giving gifts to someone with allergies.”
Here are some tips from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology to consider as you plan your romance.
1. Yum! Wait. – Most people know that those with peanut allergies can have severe allergic reactions to anything that nuts touch. But the most common food allergens also include eggs, milk, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy. If you’re baking or cooking for February 14th, make sure your sweetheart is okay with the ingredients. If you’ll be dining out at a special restaurant – one you’ve never been to before – call ahead to make sure food allergies can be accommodated by the kitchen. You’ll be a romantic hero for the night.
2. Ooh, ooh that smell – Some people have a response to strong fragrances – think perfume and cologne. It is generally a reaction to odors created by volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can cause headaches, sneezing, watery eyes and runny noses. If your loved one doesn’t wear perfume, it’s probably for a reason, and maybe that’s a gift you should avoid this year.
3. A wed wose. How womantic.- Nothing says Valentine's dDay like red roses. And for those alelrgic to plant pollen, it turns out that roses and some other plants produce very little or no pollen. Other "allergy-friendly" plants include begonia, cactus, clematis, columbine, crocus, daffodil and geraniums.
4. You shouldn’t have! Really. – If you’re ready to pull out the big guns – jewelry – make sure your sweetheart isn’t allergic to the metals contained in some jewelry, particularly nickel. Nickel is found in many metal products, such as jewelry, zippers and buttons. Even chrome-plated objects and 14K and 18K gold contain nickel that can irritate the skin if the gold gets moist.
5. Pucker up – with care – Believe it or not, there’s something called a “kissing allergy” - most commonly found in people who have food or medication allergies. Symptoms include swelling of the lips or throat, rash, hives, itching and wheezing. So what’s a lovebird to do? Allergists recommend that the non-allergic partner brush his or her teeth, rinse his or her mouth and avoid the offending food for 16 to 24 hours before smooching.
Whatever your choices for wooing your loved one this Valentine’s Day, make sure it’s a gift that’s safe and allergy-free. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, see a board-certified allergist. Allergists are trained to diagnose and treat your symptoms, so you can live the life you want.
I’m available by phone: (310)828-8534 or by e-mail: FrontOffice@allergyandclinical.com
Thank you for your time,
Dora Afrahim, MPAP, PA-C