A Sheffield allergy expert is warning those who have recently eaten peanuts of the potential dangers of kissing someone with an aversion to the food.
Dr Nicola Jay, a consultant at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, has offered the words of advice to mark International Kissing Day, which takes place today.
“Children and teenagers who suffer from a peanut allergy know that they have to avoid certain foods and be careful about what they eat,” she said.
“However parents, grandparents and partners aren’t always aware that the allergy can mean they need to be careful of their diet too.”
In most cases kissing someone with an allergy after ingesting peanuts will lead to them suffering a rash or swelling.
However, for those who are particularly sensitive to the nut, there is a risk of a severe reaction known as anaphylaxis which calls for immediate medical treatment.
Teenagers also need to let their sweethearts know about their allergy. Open mouth kissing poses the greatest danger as more peanut protein is likely to be transferred.
Dr Jay added: “Studies have shown that you can reduce the level of peanut protein in your saliva in a number of ways.
“Waiting for at least an hour after eating peanuts, washing your mouth out, brushing your teeth, chewing gum for 30 minutes and eating a meal not containing peanuts have all been found to be effective.
“However, a combination of the above methods is the most effective way of reducing the risk.
“There may still be undetectable levels of peanut protein in the saliva and this is still enough to cause a reaction for those with very sensitive allergies
“However, the best way to reduce the risk is to avoid eating peanuts. But remember kissing is also good for your health!”
Nut allergies are the most common type of severe food allergy. Peanut allergy affects one in every 100 people, while one in every 200 is allergic to tree nuts.
Unlike people who suffer reactions to milk or eggs, it is less likely for those with nut allergies to grow out of them.