When people with severe food allergies – especially teens – date someone new, they need to tell their date how life-threatening it can be if either of them eats the food allergen. Here are some things to keep in mind…
Kissing and Food Allergies
Just because you have a food allergy doesn’t mean you have to avoid dating, but it does mean that you have to be extra careful when locking lips with someone new.
A new study provides evidence that individuals with food allergies are at a high risk of having a reaction when kissing someone who has recently eaten the food to which they are allergic.
Jennifer M. Maloney, MD, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY, and colleagues measured the level of peanut allergen in an individual’s saliva after eating a peanut butter sandwich – both before and after participants brushed their teeth. The study found that despite toothbrushing, allergen levels were detectable for up to four hours after a participant ate peanut butter.
While a larger study needs to be conducted to make sweeping recommendations, the study’s authors concluded that in addition to brushing their teeth, individuals who have consumed an allergen should wait several hours before kissing a food-allergic individual.
What You Can Do
Your food allergy may seem like an uncomfortable topic to bring up, but it’s definitely much more comfortable to talk about it than to have a reaction. Be upfront with people you are interested in. If they care about you, they will understand and want to learn about how they can help keep you safe.
If you are in the early stages of a relationship and don’t feel quite ready to tell the other person about your food allergy, try to avoid food-related activities. For example, plan dates before or after mealtimes or offer to supply the snack if you are planning a long date. Whichever you decide, avoid close contact with your date until you can be honest with him or her and feel he or she will respect your food restrictions.
When you do get ready to pucker up, make sure your date knows how serious your food allergy is, and what he or she needs to do in order to prevent you from having a reaction.
Many teens and young adults tell us that their significant others avoid the allergy-causing food on days when they will be hanging out together.
Others say their boyfriends or girlfriends have cut the allergen out of their diets entirely. Talk to your doctor and your date about what makes the most sense for your situation.
Dating is all about spending time with a person you like and finding out if you are compatible and comfortable with each other. If your date isn’t understanding about your food allergy or is pressuring you to take chances that would harm you, then it might be time to move on!
On the other hand, if your new boyfriend or girlfriend is making an effort to learn about food allergy and is genuinely concerned, let him or her know how much it means to you.