Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Food Allergies & Kissing...

Abigail is just 7 years old so we're years away from having to worry about her having a make-out session with a boyfriend that could trigger an allergic reaction. I had to pause there.  The image that statement evoked brought a shudder. Ugh!

Making the headlines this week was a recent presentation that the President of the ACAAI, Dr. Sami Bahna, made at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.  An allergic person may have a reaction after kissing a non-allergic person even if it's been hours since that person ate the allergic food and/or brushed their teeth.

According to Dr. Bahna, speaker and lead author of a new study, “If you have food allergies, having an allergic reaction immediately after kissing someone who has eaten the food or taken oral medication that you are allergic to isn’t highly unusual.  But some patients react after their partner has brushed his or her teeth or several hours after eating. It turns out that their partners’ saliva is excreting the allergen hours after the food or medicine has been absorbed by their body.” reports that the typical symptoms of a "kissing allergy" are swelling of the lips or throat, rash, hives, itching and wheezing.  These type of reactions occur in people who are highly allergic to a food or medication.  For highly allergy individuals, it's advised that the partner without an allergy brush their teeth, rinse their mouths out thoroughly, and avoid placing anything in their mouths the other person is allergic to for 16 to 24 hours - then they can probably enjoy a kiss. However, sometimes even these measures are not enough.

And to clarify, we're talking saliva swapping kisses here, not a quick kiss good-bye.  Dr. Bahna ended his presentation with a statement that he did not intend for allergy patients to live in fear.  Also, it's important to note that a reaction is totally dependent on the severity of the food allergy.

While we are years away from both the conclusion of the peanut clinical trial at Duke and from Abigail dating, this issue was a factor in making our decision to participate in the study.  My husband and I had discussed the story of the 15 year old girl that reportedly died after kissing her boyfriend who had eaten peanut butter.  That incident was but just one of the many reasons for us deciding to enroll her in the peanut sublingual immunotherapy clinical trial.  FYI, it was later proved in a Coroner report that the girl died from a severe asthma attack and not the kiss.

I'm still shuddering from that first mental image.  I'm thankful my little girl is just that....still a little girl.  I'm not prepared for the teenage years yet!

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