Can a Valentine’s Day Kiss Trigger Your Allergies?

If kissing leaves you tingly, is it love or allergies?

“Kissing” allergies are most commonly found in people who have food or medication allergies. Symptoms can include swelling of the lips or throat, rash, hives, itching and wheezing. Food allergies affect about 2-3% of adults and 5-7% of children in the US population, accounting for more than 7 million people according to the ACAAI.

Even brushing your teeth or waiting hours after eating may not prevent some partners of people with food and medicine allergies from triggering an allergic reaction through a kiss, according to experts at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), of which both Dr. Engler and Dr. Zhang are members. It has been found that their partners’ saliva is excreting the allergen hours after the food or medicine has been absorbed by their body.

So what are lovebirds to do? It is recommended that the non-allergic partner brush their teeth, rinse their mouth and avoid the offending food for 16-24 hours before smooching with a person who is highly allergic to that food. Even these steps may not help in some cases but we can help determine what’s causing the allergy and find the right treatment so no one has to needlessly suffer.

Interestingly, it’s not always the “obvious” food which is causing the problem. We’ve had quite a number of cases where the testing to the suspected food was negative, despite a very high level of suspicion. So often, it’s almost as important to know what you’re not allergic to as it is to know what you are. After all, why give up that delicious piece of mouthwatering dark chocolate if it turns out it’s the almonds in the chocolate that are causing the problem and not the chocolate itself?

If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms you think could be related to an allergy, please feel free to contact our office and speak to us. We can help you identify the allergy, discuss therapy options such as appropriate lifestyle changes, preventative medications (for some cases) as well as many other options, including determining whether you are a candidate for desensitization to help you become less allergic.

Dr. Engler Chosen as One of the Top Allergists in the Bay Area

We are proud to announce that Dr. Engler was among 1 of 13 allergists chosen as “Our Best Doctors” in the January, 2015 edition of San Francisco Magazine.

The list of doctors was chosen from nearly 3000 nominees in the 8 Bay Area counties based on recommendations from licensed physicians and other medical professionals in the region. Each candidate was evaluated based on their educational and professional experience, years of experience, board certification, quality of medical degree, hospital affiliations and whether they had received any disciplinary actions. San Francisco Magazine worked in collaboration with Castle Connolly Ltd—a health care research and information company that has made it its mission to help patients find the best healthcare.

Download February 2015 Newsletter