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A Tip 'From the Heart' for an Allergy-Free Valentine's Day.

FAIRFAX, Va. -- FAIRFAX, Va., Feb. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- On Valentine's Day, make sure that little tingle on your sweetheart's lips is a love reaction -- not an allergic reaction. Reactions can occur when a person eats a particular food and kisses someone who is allergic to that food.

"Kissing someone who has eaten nuts can be just as dangerous as eating them yourself," according to Hannah, one of the many young-adult essayists featured in "Stories From the Heart: A Collection of Essays From Teens With Food Allergies." Hannah, who is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, had a close call once at a party when she glanced across the room to see her new beau eating food to which she is allergic. " ... I realized that if I had not seen him eat those peanuts, our first kiss goodnight would have resulted in a scary rush to the hospital," she recounted in her essay.

When it comes to dating with a food allergy, safe is better than sorry, according to Anne Munoz-Furlong, founder of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN). "Food allergy accounts for approximately 30,000 visits to the emergency room each year, said Munoz-Furlong, "mostly due to someone eating a food they thought was safe. However, cross-contact, such as kissing, can also cause allergic reactions."

A recent survey of 379 patients with food allergies, conducted by Dr. Suzanne Teuber of the University of California, found that as many as 5 percent had experienced an allergic reaction after kissing someone who had ingested the food to which they were allergic.

Munoz-Furlong's advice: "In the early stages of a relationship, inform your date about your allergy so he or she can use caution to avoid an inadvertent reaction."

Eight foods account for 90 percent of all allergic reactions: peanuts, tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, pecans, etc.), fish, shellfish, eggs, milk, soy, and wheat. There is no cure for food allergy; avoidance is the only way to prevent a reaction. For more information about food allergies, visit FAAN online at http://www.foodallergy.org/ .

"Stories From the Heart: A Collection of Essays From Teens With Food Allergies," is available for order directly from FAAN, which also recently published "Stories From Parents' Hearts: Essays by Parents of Children with Food Allergies," insights from parents who raising children with food allergies.

The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing public awareness of, providing education about, and advancing scientific research on food allergies and anaphylaxis. Established in 1991, FAAN has more than 25,000 members, and provides educational information through its toll-free telephone line, 800-929-4040, and its website, http://www.foodallergy.org/ . FAAN recommends consulting a board-certified allergist to diagnose and manage food allergies.

CONTACT: Traci Tavares of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, +1-703-691-3179, or media@foodallergymail.org

Web site: http://www.foodallergy.org/
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Date:Feb 11, 2003
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