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My Girlfriend Has a Peanut Allergy. Do We Have to Worry About Kissing?

My girlfriend has a peanut allergy. I've heard stories about how people can die after being kissed by someone who just ate nuts. Do I have to worry about kissing her?
Kevin*

Relax — the stories you've heard do happen, but they are rare. If you take some simple precautions, you and your girlfriend can kiss with no problems.

Studies show that food allergens are most prevalent in a person's saliva immediately after eating. But the presence of allergens gradually decreases over time, and after a few hours they are all but gone. Experts advise brushing your teeth and waiting at least 4 hours before kissing someone if you think you ate a food that person may be allergic to.

If it's noon and you won't see your girlfriend until later that evening, it's OK to have a PB&J for lunch. Just be sure to brush your teeth and use lots of toothpaste before you see her (just as anyone wanting kiss-worthy breath would do).

If you and your girlfriend are going out for a meal together, choose what you eat carefully. Ask her for advice on what you can order that doesn't have nut ingredients — or order the same thing she does — and you can kiss her goodnight with no problem.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: February 2012
Originally reviewed by: Hemant P. Sharma, MD

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* Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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