Beware: A kiss could trigger allergic reaction

Sunday, November 21, 2010

WASHINGTON - The next time you plan to kiss your beloved, give it a second thought. The kiss can trigger an allergic reaction in your partner, a study says.

“If you have food allergies, then 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,” president of American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Sami Bahna said.

“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,” Bahna said.

Most kissing allergies are found in people who have food or medication allergies. Symptoms include swelling of the lips or throat, rashes, hives, itching and wheezing, according to an ACAAI statement.

These findings were presented at the annual scientific meeting of ACAAI in Phoenix, US.

Food allergies affect about two to three percent of adults and five to seven percent of children in US, or more than seven million people, according to the statement.

In his presentation, Bahna discussed the case of a 30-year-old male doctor with a peanut allergy, who had recurrent anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction.

This patient developed lip swelling and itching in his mouth when his girlfriend kissed him. She had eaten peanuts two hours earlier, brushed her teeth, rinsed her mouth and chewed gum prior to seeing him.

When things turn more intimate, allergies can be even more harmful. Allergists have seen cases of people experiencing allergies to chemicals in spermicides, lubricants, latex or even a partner’s semen.

Some people develop hives or wheezing from the natural chemicals released by their body by the emotional excitement or physical exertion during sexual intercourse.

For people allergic to their partner’s semen, Bahna suggests the use of condoms or desensitization (immunotherapy) by an allergist. Preventative antihistamines may be helpful in mild cases, he said.

Filed under: Medicine, World

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