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When Romance and Allergies Don't Mix
Date:11/14/2010

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

SUNDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- The course of true love may not run smoothly for some people with highly sensitive allergies, experts say, since kissing or other intimate contact can pose risks for sometimes serious reactions.

In fact, allergens can linger in a partner's saliva up to a full day following ingestion, irrespective of toothbrushing or other interventions, according to Dr. Sami Bahna, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), which is holding its annual meeting this week in Phoenix.

Allergic reactions from kissing are relatively uncommon, but they do occur.

"We're talking about those few whose immune system can react vigorously to a minute amount of allergen," noted Bahna, who also serves as chief of allergy and immunology at Louisiana State University Medical School in Shreveport. "For these people, yes, a very little quantity of food or medicine on the lips or the mouth or the saliva can cause a problem. And for these people we're not just talking about a passionate kiss. Even a non-passionate kiss on the cheek or the forehead can cause a severe reaction to this kind of extremely sensitive allergic individual."

The ACAAI estimates that more than 7 million Americans suffer from food allergies -- about 2 percent to 3 percent of adults and 5 percent to 7 percent of children.

It's not unusual for people with allergies to experience a reaction in the form of lip-swelling, throat-swelling, rash, hives, itching, and/or wheezing immediately after kissing a partner who has consumed an identified allergen. Bahna said some highly sensitive people can be affected hours after their partner has absorbed the culprit substance, because the partner's saliva is still excreting allergen.

One expert said that when it comes to preventing kissing-related allergic reactions, honesty -- and a little proactive guidance -- is key.'/>"/>

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