Allergic to Kissing?

Allergic to Kissing?

Holidays are upon us and many families are enjoying coming together to celebrate. For those with serious nut allergies, a holiday kiss may be an unsuspected danger. Allergic grandparents, for instance, have had reactions after kissing grandchildren who had eaten peanut butter. And the problem is more widespread than had been recognized.

A study reported at the November 2001 annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology found that when those with nut allergies were asked “Have you ever had a reaction after touching food?” almost 5% volunteered that they had had a reaction after kissing someone who had eaten a nut product to which they were allergic — up to 6 hours after the kisser had eaten the food. Brushing teeth and using mouthwash seemed to make no difference.

If there are serious allergies in the family, use them as a springboard for discussion and closeness as you celebrate the holidays together.

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Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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