A kiss could be a sign of love – but it could also prompt a dangerous allergic reaction. This Valentine’s Day,Go Local Providencewants to remind you that kissing could trigger an allergic reaction. Even waiting hours after eating, or brushing your teeth to remove traces of the food, may not be enough to avoid triggering a reaction with your kiss.

People who are allergic to food or medicine could experience an allergic reaction after kissing someone who has recently consumed their allergen, say experts. Allergist Sami Bahna, past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI), said “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.”

Why is it still possible to react to the allergen hours after your Valentine has eaten the offending food? Dr. Bahna explains “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.” Dr. Russell Settipane, an allergist with Rhode Island Hospital, added “The exact amount of time it takes for all traces of the food to be cleared from the mouth has not actually been determined.”

What should you do if you or a loved one has a food allergy? Allergists recommend brushing your teeth and rinsing your mouth before kissing, and avoid the allergen before kissing someone who is allergic to the food. Dr. Settipane toldGo Local Providence“In my opinion, it would be safest not to kiss an allergic person for 12 hours following ingestion of a known food to which that person is allergic.”

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