Don’t send your Valentine to the ER
It’s that time of year when you show your sweetie pie how much she mean to you by purchasing flowers or candy to help showcase your love. But could the heart-felt gift actually be costing you a trip to the ER.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 1 in 5 Americans (estimated 50 million) suffer from all types of allergies including indoor/outdoor, food & drug, latex, insect, skin and eye allergies.
“If you have only known your sweetheart for a short time, be sure before buying the gift to ask ‘Is there something I should not get you because of allergies?’ “says Dr. Joel Klein, an allergy specialist at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill., and Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill.
Here are some tips from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) before planning your romantic night:
- Food Allergies: Most people know that those with peanut allergies can have a severe allergic reaction to anything nuts touch. But the most common food allergens include eggs, milk, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy. If you’re baking or cooking, make sure your sweetheart is okay with the ingredients. If you’re planning to dine out, call the restaurant before-hand to make sure that the kitchen can make accommodations for food allergies.
- Fragrances: Some people have a response to strong fragrances like perfume and cologne. Typically, the reaction to the odor is created by volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can cause headaches, sneezing, watery eyes and runny noses. If your loved one doesn’t wear perfume, it’s probably a sign that you should avoid that gift option this year.
- Pollen allergy: Be care careful with the type of flowers you give for Valentine’s Day. Stick to flowers that produce little to no pollen including begonias, cactus, clematis, columbine, crocus, daffodil, geraniums and the favorite, roses.
- Jewelry: Before spending big bucks on jewelry, know that some metals, especially nickel, can cause severe skin irritation. Keep in mind that nickel can also be found in zippers, snaps, buttons and bra fasteners. Even chrome-plated objects and 14K and 18K gold contain nickel so be sure to ask what metal the jewelry is made from before purchasing.
- “Kissing allergy”: It’s no joke that people who have food or medication allergies can actually break out from kissing their partner. So what’s a lovebird to do? The partners should make sure to brush their teeth, rinse their mouth and avoid the food for 16 to 24 hours before smooching.
“If someone has an allergic reaction to the common food allergens, the symptoms are almost always some combination of a rash, mouth or throat swelling, breathing difficulty, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, says Dr. Klein. “Call 911 if you think you are experiencing a severe allergic reaction.”
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