Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Kissing with Severe Egg & Dairy Food Allergies

Those of us who are severely allergic to certain foods, where contact with these foods can result in anaphylaxis, know that kissing can be a serious thing. If we aren't careful, kissing can even be fatal.

When I was sixteen I was completely crazy about boys. I dated several boys in high school and I loved to kiss them all. The only problem is that I hated talking about my food allergies and I did not want to tell these really cute boys that if they wanted to kiss me at the end of the date, they couldn't eat a whole list of things for the entire day. How romantic is that? Not romantic at all in my opinion.

I figured I would take my chances and casually ask the boy what he had for dinner and if it did get to that crucial moment when the boy leans in for a kiss, then I would know I could kiss him instead of having to say goodnight before that awkward moment when I would have to tell him I couldn't kiss him because I might die if I do. Dating at that age was already hard and having food allergies made it ten times harder.

But it took a near death experience to realize I shouldn't play this kind of Russian roulette with myself anymore. I was on a dinner and a movie date with a boy I really liked and I was so excited because if the kissing moment occurred I knew I could do it because all he ate was a Caesar salad! After the movie he took my hand and moved in for a kiss which I completely embraced. No more than two minutes later my lips were bubbling, my chest was tight, I couldn't catch my breath and my throat started to close up. It was horrible, but thank God I did not die.

I had no idea that Caesar dressing can contain egg and this one certainly did. From that day on I never had a problem telling a date right upfront that if we decide we want to kiss he can't eat anything with egg or dairy. I made it very clear by always ending the conversation with "I could die if you do." Even today my fiance will tell me he had a tuna melt for lunch and so we will go in for a big squeeze instead of a kiss.

People have died from kissing someone who has eaten something they are severely allergic to and that is a tragedy. My heart and prayers go out to those families who have lost someone because of an allergic reaction. I learned from my experience that I needed to know more about foods and what is in them, learn the early signs of a serious allergic reaction, know how to handle a reaction and keep all of my friends and family informed about my food allergies. I am blessed to still be here and I believe it is because I take kissing and my food allergies seriously.

Nicolle Avery

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