Find out from “America’s Allergist” Dr. Clifford Bassett
Valentine’s Day is almost here and we’re all looking forward to cuddling up next to the one we love. The only thing standing in the way… is possible allergies!
Being allergic to love may seem counter intuitive, but according to a recent study, allergy sufferers reported more problems with sleep and sexual activity than other groups. – in fact, 83 percent of people with allergic rhinitis reported that their condition affected sexual activities.
Think about it: if you can’t breathe, your nose is running, and your eyes are itchy, you most likely don’t feel very attractive or sexy. Some may also find that their allergies affect their level of exercise exertion – whether it’s traditional exercise at the gym, or sex.
Here are some traditional Valentine’s Day activities that may lead to an allergic reaction!
- MAKEUP: Who doesn’t want to look their best for that special someone on Valentine’s Day? For those who don’t regularly wear makeup, but plan to on V-Day, keep in mind that many facial cosmetics, lipsticks and eye makeups can contain nut oils and fragrances. If you’re allergic to nut oils, you could find yourself fighting puffy eyelids or a little bumpy rash on your face. Ladies, be warned: men can also experience skin reaction to the facial products women wear .
- DARK CHOCOLATE & OYSTERS: Everyone knows that dark chocolate and oysters have the most natural aphrodisiacs in them. But many might not realize that shellfish is the number one food for allergies in adults. Many chocolates often contain nuts, another highly allergic food – make sure to ask your waiter about this!
- FLOWERS: The fragrances of Roses, Star Jasmine, Narcissus, Gardenia, Lily of the Valley, Citrus and Eucalyptus trees are the most common plants whose fragrances can make people sneeze. If you’re sensitive, you want to keep away from these plants!
- KISSING: Nothing would be more unromantic this Valentine’s Day than breaking out in an allergic reaction when kissing the one you love. Possible allergic reactions to kissing include traces of trigger foods in your partner’s mouth, such as peanuts. If your partner has eaten peanuts even four hours before kissing – and you’re allergic to peanuts – you could be in serious danger. In fact, allergens can linger in a partner’s saliva up to a full day following ingestion, irrespective of tooth brushing or other interventions. Some common allergic outbreaks to kissing include: lip-swelling, throat-swelling, rash, hives, itching, and/or wheezing.
- SKIN CONTACT: If your honey is using a fragrance, cosmetic or even a shaving cream that you’re allergic to, you could be in trouble! Skin allergies include hives, redness, or irritation.
- MASSAGE OILS: Before you decide to spoil your partner with a massage, make sure you buy an allergen-free massage oil. If you buy the wrong kind of oil, you could find your special someone with a very special rash on Valentine’s Day! Make sure that the massage oil you use does not contain any fragrances or nut oils and you should be good to go!
- SEX: Lovemaking may inadvertently expose a person sensitive to chemicals found in spermicides, lubricants and/or latex condoms. Many couples might utilize a latex condom as a popular contraceptive technique that can provoke a localized or generalized allergic reaction if you are truly sensitive to latex rubber. There are tests available to confirm a hypersensitivity to latex rubber protein. There are also alternative types of condoms that do not contain latex.
There are tips and steps those with allergies can follow to make sure this Valentine’s Day stays amorous and those pesky allergies don’t get in the way.
- TALK TO YOUR PARTNER: Intimate contact with individuals who’ve eaten or consumed suspect foods or medicines can cause problems for those with a significant food allergy. It’s always better to play it safe by making sure that everyone knows that in all situations these foods are strictly off-limits.
- MAKE SURE YOUR PARTNER AVOIDS ALLERGIC TRIGGERS.: Dr. Bassett often advises the partners of people with these types of sensitivities avoid the problematic food or medication altogether for anywhere from 16 to 24 hours before initiating intimate contact. Tooth brushing and rinsing the mouth prior to contact should also help, although it can’t eliminate the risk completely.
- START A DIALOGUE ABOUT THE ALLERGY: Talk with your friends, your colleagues, and your loved ones. This can and will save lives.
“America’s Allergist” Dr. Clifford Bassett
Dr. Clifford Bassett, an adult and pediatric allergy specialist, diplomate of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology and medical director, is a clinical assistant professor of medicine and on the teaching faculty of NYU School of Medicine and NYU Langone Medical Center, in NYC. He is also a clinical assistant professor of medicine and Otolaryngology and at SUNY Downstate – LICH in Brooklyn, New York. He a fellow of the American College and the American Academy of Allergy and was a past chair the Chair, Public Education Committee. Recently, Dr. Bassett was honored by US News and World Report with a position on the National Top Doctor list, which includes those whom Castle Connolly has determined to be in the top 10 percent of the region’s physicians.
Dr. Bassett has authored scientific articles and chapters, as well as given lectures at a myriad of nationwide scientific meetings. Dr. Bassett has also contributed to articles in Time, The New York Times (Science Times Section with Anahad O’Connor), Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Newsweek, National Geographic, Reader’s Digest, New York Daily News, New York Newsday, New York Post, Baby Talk, Prevention, The Journal of the American Medical Association, Health, Parents, Ladies’ Home Journal, National Geographic, Woman’s World, Self, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Family Circle, Time Out NY, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Shape, Cat and Dog magazine and USA Today.
Dr. Bassett’s media and television appearances include CNN, MSNBC, CBS’s “The Early Show,” NBC’s “The Today Show,” ABC’s “Good Morning America,” “NBC Nightly News,” FOX News Network, Dr. Oz Show, Telemundo and NPR. He also conducted a home makeover and been a regular guest on the Doctor Oz Show. A current video list of appearances may be found at www.allergyreliefnyc.com and his weekly blog at www.allergyepidemic.com. For his twitter go to: @ allergyreliefny