This is because once the food allergen is consumed there is no easy way to remove the evidence. Rinsing your mouth, brushing your teeth or even chewing gum does not guarantee the food allergen will not be transmitted to another person. However, studies indicate that waiting at least several hours and eating an allergen-free meal in between may be a helpful measure to avoid transmission.
“We found that after our test subjects ate peanut butter, we did not detect it in their saliva after several hours with them also having eaten a peanut-free meal,” said Scott H. Sicherer, MD, FAAAAI, Professor of Pediatrics at the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute, Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.
Sicherer cautions that this practice isn’t foolproof, and that the study only evaluated peanut butter. “For people who are partners of a person with serious allergies, avoiding the food altogether is the safest alternative,” he advises.
Cosmetics can also be a less common factor in those sensitive to peanut or nuts. Even a small amount of peanut or nut oil present in cosmetics or lipstick can cause skin allergy reactions.
Also, be aware of the popular Valentine’s Day heart-shaped box of chocolate. Read the ingredients carefully and look for peanut and nut traces before indulging.
Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that happens very quickly. Symptoms may include difficulty breathing, dizziness or loss of consciousness. Without immediate treatment, an injection of epinephrine (adrenalin) and expert care, anaphylaxis can be life threatening.
If you suffer from food allergies, visit www.aaaai.org for more tips and information that can help you have a safe and happy Valentine’s Day. If you suspect you may have a food allergy, visit an allergist for an individual action plan.
The AAAAI (www.aaaai.org) represents allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic and immunologic diseases. Established in 1943, the AAAAI has nearly 6,500 members in the United States, Canada and 60 other countries. To locate an allergist/immunologist, visit the AAAAI Physician Referral Directory at www.aaaai.org/physref.