How kissing and cell phones can bring on a bad reaction

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A local doctor shows you how kisses and cell phones can elicit a bad reaction.

“For people who have food allergies or medications allergies, if they happen to kiss someone who has eaten that food or even taken that medication, they can actually start to develop itching of the lips and in the mouth,” said Dr. Miriam Anand with Allergy Associates & Lab.
Kissing allergies was one of the topics at the scientific meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in Phoenix last month.

“The purpose of those conferences is to keep us practicing clinicians aware of what are the newer things found in research,” Anand said.

More than 7 million people in the United States have a food allergy which means if you fall into that category precautions might need to be made before your next smooch.

“Some of the studies show that even when people brush their teeth, rinse their mouth out with mouthwash, did all of those things, still they had some of this allergen in their saliva,” Anand said.

Allergists recommend that non-allergic partners not only continue to brush and rinse but also avoid the offending foods 16 to 24 hours before kissing the person who is allergic to them. 

For those who suspect a food allergy but have no concrete evidence, Anand suggests a skin prick test.

“We actually prick with the foods we're looking for and in this type of situation where a patient may not be sure what it is, we test with the most common food allergens,” Anand said. “If they are allergic to that about 15 minutes after we prick them, they should develop a hive at the site.”

When it comes to cell phones, reports say an allergic reaction could be triggered by the prolonged exposure to nickel in phones. Nickel is one of the most common contact allergens.

“As time goes on you start to develop some redness,” Anand said. “This particular type of rash can sometimes become dry or flaky depending on how severe it is.”

Anand said while being allergic to the nickel in cell phones is rare, one way to find out is with a patch test.

“We tape patches on the back that test to first the most common things people can be allergic to, but we can also do it to people's own product,” Anand said.

The test can show results in a couple days. If nickel ends up being an issue, Anand has a few suggestions.

“One thing would be trying to find a phone that doesn't have the higher nickel contact,” Anand said.

She also recommended using a plastic film cover or a wireless ear piece.

For more information go to American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) or contact Dr. Miriam Anand at Allergy Associates & Lab at (480) 838-4296 or go to