You Could Be Allergic to Love - NBC4 Washington

You Could Be Allergic to Love

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries and Kissing Aren't For Everyone



    How candy, flowers, kissing and lovemaking can make you break out in hives. Dr. Jackie Eghrari-Sabet of Family Allergy & Asthma Care in Gaithersburg, Md., breaks it down. (Published Monday, Feb. 14, 2011)

    Allergic to love? Banish the thought! Then again, consider that not everyone should be showered with chocolates, wine and roses for Valentine’s Day, or any day.

    There are those of us who hunger for love, in its varied forms of expression, and those of us who should resist succumbing to the seductive customs associated with this most romantic of days.

    “All the hoopla of candies, flowers and smooches can actually make you break out in hives,” said Dr. Jackie Eghrari-Sabet, of Family Allergy & Asthma Care in Gaithersburg, Md.

    Check out Dr. Jackie’s list of 10 and see whether you may need to find healthier ways to spread the love. 

    1. Chocolate: Can you really be allergic to chocolate? Actually, it’s very rare.  However, some folks are very allergic to what’s IN the chocolate, like milk and nuts. 
    2. Wine: Many red and white wines contain sulfites which can cause reactions such as wheezing, hives and itching.  “This reaction can in fact be quite dangerous,” said Dr. Jackie.
    3. Red things like strawberries and heart-shaped candies:  Some people think they’re allergic to strawberries, but that, too, is rare, according to Dr. Jackie. On the other hand the red dye in your favorite candy hearts could set you off.
    4. Flowers: You’re not actually allergic to the flowers. The pollens are too heavy to fly up your nose.  You can react to the moldy water in the vase; and if you suffer from non-allergic rhinitis, the strong smell of the flowers, i.e. lilies, could be too much for your sinuses.
    5. Perfume: Technically, your fragrance aversion is not an allergy, it’s an irritant.  If you’re allergic to begin with, perfume could make you worse.  There is something called vaso motor rhinitis that causes you to sneeze and your nose to drip from strong smells.
    6. Bubble bath: Here again you could be unable to tolerate the perfumes and strong scents. Plus, soap can irritate and dry out your skin.
    7. Lipstick: Because of the metals in lipstick, this can irritate the wearer and the receiver by causing contact dermatitis. And beware of those lip-plumpers. It’s the irritant reaction that plumps up the lips.  In some cases, you can get hives.
    8. Kissing: If the person you are kissing just ate something you’re allergic to, look out!!
    9. Sex: Yes, you can be allergic to this. First off, some people react to latex condoms, which can cause a serious reaction that starts as itching and can turn to wheezing, coughing and hives. Use “non-latex.”  In rare cases, some women are allergic to semen. It can also be quite serious, but there is a cure.  Some doctors prescribe daily intercourse, according to Dr. Jackie.
    10. Love:  If your heart’s racing, you’re skin’s flushed, and your pupils are a wide as bowling balls, these are the physiological signs of attraction.  You may in deed be in love, and alas, there may be no cure!