Dating Tips For People With Food Allergies
First dates bring excitement, anticipation, a few nervous butterflies – maybe even a first kiss – but for people with food allergies, date planning requires more than deciding when to meet or what to wear.
“Since dating so often revolves around eating, it’s important that people with food allergies take a proactive approach,” says Tonya Winders, president and CEO of Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA), a leading patient education nonprofit organization.
“Preparation includes working with a board-certified allergist to identify and avoid food allergens”, says James Herman, MD, an allergist from Texas, a member of AANMA’s Anaphylaxis Community Expert (ACE) program, and chairman of the Anaphylaxis, Food and Insect Allergy Committee with the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).
“Symptoms can appear within minutes to several hours after ingestion and may include itchiness or swelling in the mouth, hives, nausea, coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath,” Dr. Herman says. “You need to know symptoms of anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction, and you should always carry two epinephrine auto- injectors, the first line of treatment for anaphylaxis.”
“If you’re confident about your diagnosis and understand how to manage your condition, then you’ll feel more comfortable going on a date,” says Sloane Miller, a licensed social worker, food allergy consultant and author of “Allergic Girl: Adventures In Living Well with Food Allergies.”
Here are some first-date tips:
- Keep initial conversations about your food allergies clear and simple. Discussing it in great detail on a first date may be too much, too soon.
- Emphasize to your date that you understand what you can and cannot eat and know what steps to take in case of an accidental exposure.
- Arrange a non-restaurant first date – visit a museum or go bowling, for example. If you do go to a restaurant, pick one that you know will cater to your food allergies.
- Hold off on kissing if your date has consumed one of your food allergens. Saliva can contain the allergen for at least several hours after a meal; studies suggest it may be best to wait until after your date has eaten another meal before kissing.
- Remember to have fun! A medical condition is just one part of who you are.
AANMA explores dating with allergies and asthma in the spring issue of Allergy & Asthma Today, a quarterly magazine available in February (http://www.aanma.org/
The Anaphylaxis Community Experts (ACEs) program is developed by Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA) and the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), sponsored by Mylan Specialty L.P. The ACEs program goal is to save lives through showing parents, teachers, school nurses, emergency responders, and others how to recognize and respond immediately to anaphylaxis symptoms.
To request an ACE team presentation in SW Montana, contact Dr. Zacharisen at 406-451-7017. Our team consists of Dr. Zach, Merissa, Janice and Penny.
Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA) is the leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending needless death and suffering due to asthma, allergies and related conditions. AANMA specializes in sharing family-friendly, medically accurate information through its award-winning publication Allergy & Asthma Today magazine, E-newsletter, website at http://www.aanma.org and numerous community outreach programs. Follow AANMA on Facebook at facebook.com/AANMA and on Twitter at twitter.com/AANMA. Join AANMA at http://www.aanma.org/join.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology is a professional association of allergists/immunologists and allied health professionals dedicated to promoting excellence in the practice of allergy and immunology. www.acaai.org Dr. Zacharisen has been a fellow of the ACAAI since 1993.
At Family Allergy & Asthma Care of Montana, we want your first date and all subsequent dates to be safe and memorable in a good way!
This information is solely for informational purposes and not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional.