Here’s the scene: A great first date is
winding down, and all of a sudden you’re swapping spit. A few minutes later,
you’re on the way to the ER. Definitely a night to remember!
people with severe allergies, this is a real-life
possibility, says Jan Hanson, a food allergy expert. Peanut residue, for
example, can last in the mouth hours after someone eats it – and this can
trigger a serious reaction in people who suffer from severe allergies, says
can show up fast, too. In a study conducted by the University of California,
Davis, 5.3% of people with food allergies reported instant reactions from kissing, says
Hanson. Think: Everything from hives to swollen lips – or even something more
serious like anaphylaxis,
a potentially life-threatening reaction.
course, while food is one of the most common allergies, dating can bring you
into contact with insect stings (nice walk in the park, anyone?) and latex
(hello, condoms), too – which are both other big allergens.
are about 60 million Americans who may be allergic to latex,” says Hanson.
Furthermore, there’s a relative lack of education on the allergy, which results
in what Hanson refers to as a “level of socially subscribed skepticism” – or
people not really taking it as seriously as they should.
an allergy – or getting cosy with someone who does? Make sure you’re safe in
the bedroom, on a date and everywhere in between.
1. Speak up!
important to be able to communicate your allergy,” says Hanson. After all,
having someone nearby who is aware of your condition and can call an ambulance in
a moment of need can be the difference between life and death. So before you
head out, stick to a single line – something like: “I just want to be up front
with you that I have a severe allergy to [insert allergy here].” Also let them
know if you carry an epinephrine shot and if there are any measures that should
be taken if something were to go south.
2. About that epinephrine shot…
notes the importance of these injections, which can reverse low blood pressure,
hives and additional side effects of an allergic reaction in a scary moment.
But if you’re facing a reaction, you also want to head to the ER – even if
you’ve injected. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening – and always requires
emergency medical attention, she says.
3. Know the symptoms
reactions tend to look the same on TV: Hives, rashes and swelling. And those
are real symptoms, says Hanson. But signs can range from trouble breathing or
tightness in your throat to decreased blood pressure, light-headedness and
fainting. So stay on top of any out-of-the-blue changes that could signal a
4. Remember: Some allergens are airborne
general, it’s important to understand that allergens can be passed through the
air, not just via physical contact. For example, it’s possible that powder
released from the packaging of a condom could
be enough to trigger some sort of reaction, says Hanson. Of course, if you have
a severe allergy, you should always consult your doctor to ID the specifics of
that allergy, she says.
5. Consider other forms of birth control
allergies don’t need to kill your sex life. Just consider alternative forms of
contraception. For one, non-latex condoms are an option, but so are hormonal
forms of birth control, like the Pill or an IUD. Not sure what’s best for you?
Ask your doc – and make sure to be honest with your partner. “Even if it seems
like an uncomfortable conversation, it’s preferable to a life-threatening
reaction,” says Hanson.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthsa.co.za
Image credit: iStock