Dating can be an enjoyable but tricky scene for most of us but when you add food allergies to the mix, it requires some extra considerations and good communication. Particularly for teenagers who may not be risk-averse, stopping to ask your date if they have eaten a certain food recently is not something they may want to do but is essential for people who suffer from serious food allergies or anaphylaxis. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner here are our top tips to navigate dating with allergies.
- Communicate early
Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening in a short period of time, even though this is rare its better to let your date know how to deal with it should it occur. Share information on what you are allergic to, the symptoms to look out for and how to use your epinephrine auto-injector. A trainer pen is great to practice with. You can get them from your pharmacist or the pen manufacturer. If not, we have a small number of trainer adrenaline auto-injector pens available.
- Carry your Adrenaline Auto-injectors.
Always carry your adrenaline pens whether it is an EpiPen, AnaPen, Jext, Auvi Q or Emerade. Make sure your date knows their location and how to use if necessary. This is something that may seem obvious but teenagers often choose to leave their pen at home because they think it’s not cool or too embarrassing to explain. If you’re taking someone out on a date who suffers from anaphylaxis then make sure they bring their pen with them. Carrying two adrenaline pens is recommended in case the reaction is so severe and you need the second pen before you can get medical attention or if the first one is misfired. Check out our range of adrenaline pen cases to find one to suit your lifestyle. Also make sure to bring a fully charged mobile phone.
- Eating out – Call ahead and check can they cater for you
If you are going to a restaurant call in advance to ask about their menu. You should do this even if you have eaten in the restaurant before, because menus change, ingredients change etc. The good news is that since December 2014 restaurants within the EU must cater for people with allergies and provide allergy information either on their menus, verbally, somewhere on their premises or on-demand from the customer. So don’t leave it to chance! Also, when you get to the restaurant be sure to tell all staff members you deal with about your allergies to avoid the risks of cross-contamination.
- Eating in
Cooking for your partner can be even more romantic than taking them to a restaurant. When it comes to allergens, if you’re unsure about a dish or its preparation, ask questions and understand the risks of cross-contamination.
- Consider Non-Food Dates
Opt for non-food-related activities for some dates, such as outdoor activities, museums, or cultural events. This reduces the risk of accidental exposure to allergens
Always check allergen ingredients. Look for chocolates or other treats that are free from their allergen. Cosmetics, lotions and creams can also contain allergens so if you’re not sure then ask first. For the perfect gift check out our allergen-friendly cosmetic range For more information on allergies and personal care products check out the Anaphylaxis Campaign factsheet on cosmetics and personal care products. Medical Alert Jewelley or Silk Duvets to help with dust mite allergies available from Allergy LIfestyle can make lovely gifts.
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 is not unusual, according to allergist Sami Bahna, MD, ACAAI president. Some patients even react after their partner has brushed his or her teeth or several hours after eating. This is because their partner’s saliva is excreting the allergen protein hours after the food or medicine has been absorbed by their body. So what are lovebirds to do? Allergists recommend that the non-allergic partner brush his or her teeth, rinses his or her mouth and avoids the offending food for 16 to 24 hours before smooching with a person who is highly allergic to that food. And always, always carry two adrenaline auto-injectors on your person.
- Consideration for Latex Allergies
If the relationship progresses, choose latex-free products, including condoms, to prevent allergic reactions during intimate moments. Latex and milk can be found in many brands of condoms so always check to stay safe. With latex allergies balloons, condoms, eye lash glue, latex gloves, elastic, rubber bands and other natural rubber products and poinsettias can cause problems for people with latex allergies. Some people with latex allergies may also react to certain foods with similar proteins to latex such as bananas, avocados, chestnut and kiwis. If dining out call ahead to make sure they are not using latex gloves while preparing food and if you cross react to any foods let the restaurant know in advance. If glamming up for your date check with hairdressers to ensure they are not using latex gloves.
So with a little bit of thought and preparation, you can avoid allergy triggers and keep the romance front and centre.
Disclaimer: The information provided is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Allergy Lifestyle Limited (t/a) Allergy Lifestyle) uses reasonable endeavours to check the accuracy of information provided however no warranty is given that they are error-free.