Dating can be an enjoyable but tricky scene for most of us but when you add food allergies to the mix there are different considerations to be taken into account. Particularly for teenagers who may not be risk-averse, stopping to ask your date have you 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 Valentines Day just around the corner now is a good time to consider our top tips to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction while dating?
1) Bring your Adrenaline Auto-injectors.
Going on a date is exciting, what to wear, where to go and worrying if you look good. But amidst the excitement its really important to carry your adrenaline pens whether it is an EpiPen, AnaPen, Jext, Auvi Q or Emerade. 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.
2) Eating out – Call ahead and check can they cater for you
There is nothing more romantic than a dinner for two in a nice restaurant. 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. Chef cards explaining your allergies that can be handed in to the kitchen are a good idea to make sure the message gets to the chef.
3) Eating in
Cooking for your partner can be even more romantic than taking them to a restaurant. If you are not sure about a particular recipe or ingredient then ask because you don’t want a trip to the emergency department as part of the evening. Anyone carrying an adrenaline pen needs to ensure that anyone they are with knows how to administer the pen and that they should call for an ambulance immediately. 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. Anyone who really cares about you will have no problem prioritising your safety. If you or your date don’t know how to use the pen, try to get a trainer pen to practice. You can usually get them from your pharmacist or the pen manufacturer. If not, we have a small number of trainer adrenaline auto-injector pens available.
Everybody loves receiving gifts but when buying a gift for someone with allergies it can sometimes require putting more thought into that gift. Chocolates are one of those gifts that people often turn to at Valentine’s but allergen ingredients need to be checked first. Another ‘go to’ gift is flowers however, if your loved one suffers with pollen allergies then this obviously isn’t the gift for them. There is some good news here though because the most romantic flower of all the rose does produce very little pollen. Cosmetics, lotions and creams can also contain allergens you’re not sure about your loved one’s allergies then always ask first. If you suffer with allergies yourself it is very important to warn your loved one in advance to avoid this. 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.
So your date was a success and you want to close off the evening with a kiss! 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. But 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. If you have allergies then don’t let the moment take over and don’t be afraid to ask, because a kiss that ends up in hospital is certainly not worth it. If you’re on a date with someone with allergies they are likely to have already told you about their allergies. You should consider these before kissing them. 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. If the romance is going further latex-free condoms are an important consideration for those with latex allergies. Latex and milk can be found in many brands of condoms so always check to stay safe.
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.