Although Valentine’s Day is regarded by many as the most romantic day of the year, we know it can sometimes present challenges for people who are at risk of serious allergic reactions.
Many allergens find their way into a variety of products and situations, including chocolates, restaurants and even the bedroom, making it difficult to relax if you’re affected by anaphylaxis, even when eating out or sharing a kiss with a loved one.
Be allergy aware this Valentine’s Day and read our top tips to help decrease the risk of a serious reaction occurring on this special day — and beyond!
Chocolates may seem like an ideal gift this Valentine’s Day, but chocolate can contain many of the 14 major food allergens such as peanuts, tree nuts and cow’s milk, as well as some less common ones.
Speak about your allergies with your partner first and if you do receive an edible gift, always remember to check the label, and keep two adrenaline auto-injectors (AAIs) with you at all times, just in case.
Read our Factsheets on food allergens.
Eating Out or Ordering In
Whilst a romantic meal for two can be the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, for people living with food allergy it can cause unwanted stress.
By law, food businesses must be able to provide information on any of the top 14 food allergens used as ingredients in catered food sold without packaging.
We’d recommend calling the restaurant or takeaway in advance to ask whether they will help you choose a suitable meal. Speak to staff and ask about ingredients, how the food is prepared and whether cross-contamination is likely. Check again when your meal arrives that your dish is free from your allergens and that it has been prepared safely. Keep your adrenaline auto-injectors (AAIs) with you at all times.
If you’re not confident that your request is being taken seriously, it’s best to go elsewhere.
Read our information on Eating Out with an allergy.
Read our information on Ordering Takeaway Food with an allergy.
It may not be obvious, but kissing and intimate relations can be risky if someone eats a food that their partner is allergic to. Allergens can remain in saliva for several hours – anywhere between 2 and 24 hours, and even brushing teeth may not get rid of them effectively.
Always keep two adrenaline auto-injectors (AAIs) with you, just in case.
Allergens can turn up in places you may not expect, and condoms are no exception. Latex and milk can be found in many brands of condoms and having skin contact with one of these may cause someone you love to have an allergic reaction.
There are many non-latex or milk free condoms available, just check with the manufacturer about which allergens may be used in production. Always make sure your partner is aware of your allergy. Most importantly, if you have any doubts do not use the condom and hold off until you can purchase a safe one. Keep two adrenaline auto-injectors (AAIs) with you at all times.
Read our Factsheet on Latex Allergy.
Massage & Non-Food Products
You might be looking forward to enjoying the relaxing effect of a good massage from your partner. Just remember that food allergens can sometimes be found in cosmetics products and massage oils, moisturising creams, and soaps. Some people with food allergies may have skin reactions from contact , so always make sure your partner is aware of your allergy, always check the ingredients label and always keep two adrenaline auto-injectors (AAIs) with you. Cosmetics labelling regulations require that the names used for ingredients in cosmetics are in Latin so you will see common food-based ingredients used in cosmetics given a Latin name.
Read our Factsheet on Cosmetics, Personal Care Products and Medicines for a list of the Latin names used for common food allergens so you know what to look out for.
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