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Allergic to kissing? Cell phones? Bed Bugs?
November 15th, 2010
11:54 AM ET

Allergic to kissing? Cell phones? Bed Bugs?

People can have allergic reactions in bizarre ways: kissing, using a cell phone, and getting bitten by bed bugs. There are just a few things being presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.

Love vs. allergies
Most people with severe food allergies, which are on the rise, know to warn their partners about smooching after eating offending foods such as peanuts. But apparently if your honey brushes his teeth or waits several hours, that may not be good enough, researchers say. Even hours after the problem food has been absorbed by his body, his saliva may still excrete it, and cause problems such as itching and swelling, says Dr. Sami Bahna, president of ACAAI. This can also happen with medications to which people are allergic.

Bahna advises this for the non-allergic partner: Brush teeth, rinse mouth, avoid the problem food for 16 to 24 hours before kissing the highly allergic person. Apparently, sometimes even all that isn't enough, he says.  Some people can react to even traces of offending foods. But keep in mind that different people have different levels of sensitivity to food allergies - more mild sufferers don't need such precautions.

Unfortunately, there's no test to tell who's going to break out during a make-out.

The allergic call
Up to 17 percent of women and 3 percent of men have allergies to nickel, a metal commonly found in everything from phones to paper clips. Some people experience swelling, itching, eczema, blistering, skin lesions and even oozing and scarring from coming into contact with nickel, said allergist Dr. Luz Fonacier.

That means that if you are an avid cell phone user and also have nickel allergies, you could be doing yourself harm. In fact, allergists are seeing more and more patients with nickel allergies, Fonacier said.

The only solution is to avoid nickel altogether. You can get a plastic cover for the phone, a wireless headset or a different phone.

More bed bug annoyances
Bed bugs aren't just disgusting and bothersome; some people are actually allergic to them also, and can develop asthmatic symptoms, researchers say. In rare cases, some allergy sufferers may experience a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis from bed bug bites.

In more mild cases, the itchiness from the bite can go beyond annoying, and develop into swelling, redness, hives and blisters

There's no easy cure for getting rid of bed bugs. Antihistamines and corticosteroid creams are the treatment for bed bug bites. Allergists who specialize in asthma can help patients who have asthmatic symptoms from the critters.

Don't ban peanuts
Many CNN.com readers had strong opinions about whether peanuts should be banned in schools when Eatocracy posed the question in September.

Bahna says schools should not completely eliminate peanuts, nor should airplanes. He instead encourages allergy sufferers to come up with a plan with their allergists to prevent and manage attacks. Only 1 percent of people with peanut allergies react to the smell or touch of peanuts, he said. It is impossible for an environment such as a school to be completely peanut free, and such institutions should still consider the people without allergies who want to enjoy such foods.

ACAAI tips for people with severe peanut allergies:

* Strictly avoid peanuts; including any food suspected that may be contaminated with peanuts
* Prepare their own food
* Take a long-acting antihistamine before potential exposure
* Control their underlying asthma well
* Wear medical alert identification, and
* Carry emergency medications (self-injectable epinephrine, albuterol inhaler and a fast-acting chewable or liquid antihistamine)

Allergic to...

Other things people can have allergies to, according to speakers at this conference: semen, body piercings and tattoos.


soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Bernard Shaw

    Who approves these articles? TMZ?

    What nonsense!!! I am developing an allergy to this absolutely ridiculous website...Time to start FIRING people!!!!!

    November 15, 2010 at 13:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Elizardbeth Crowin Big Dog Medical gossip spreader

      How dare U!!!!
      We were once CNN ...the leader in News!!!!

      November 15, 2010 at 13:35 | Report abuse |
    • Todd

      Don't be bitter. For those of us who like to kiss bedbugs, this is important news.

      November 16, 2010 at 09:40 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      hahah - nice

      November 25, 2010 at 23:39 | Report abuse |
  2. crystal umga

    this is impossible.

    November 15, 2010 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Krishna

    Well! More allergies to come. With a lifestyle that is dictated by the market, and everything being told by so called experts who doesnt have any Idea how people lived all these years. Wonder how people survived all through the ages without any of these allergies? The more precautious you are the more will be the allergies. Eat natural and live natural. Dont take too many medicines I bet many of these allergies will be gone.

    November 15, 2010 at 13:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Robert

      Well, Krishna, the reply to you and many people making such assertions:

      * Some of these allergies are new. We are constantly being exposed to new types of materials and foods which have been processed in ways which were impossible decades or even centuries ago.

      * Also, a side effect of our bodies being pampered so much is that we may become more sensitive to these kinds of things, but it doesn't hinder us as a species because our technological advances in medicine allow us to live a satisfying life and procreate even while suffering such allergies.

      * How do you know "people survived all through the ages" with these allergies? You sound like the people against medically assisted birthing. "How did people have children way back when?" I'll tell you how: infant death rate was over 50%, and chances are the mother's death rates was as high also.

      * "Don't take too many medicines I bet many of these allergies will be gone". Right. People start taking medicines BECAUSE of the allergies. It's not the other way around. While I agree that we as a society tend to over medicate everything, this is not a simple sniffle and cough we're talking about. People with these allergies and going through a contamination experience have their airways blocked and can literally DIE if not taken MEDICALLY care of soon.

      November 15, 2010 at 14:04 | Report abuse |
    • amy

      it is actually because of our clean society that we have developed allergies. Look up Jaspar Lawrence, this is a British man with severe allergies who did some research on how to cure them. He found that people in Africa do not suffer from allergies and the belief is they do not because they have hookworm. Jaspar when to Africa and contracted Hookworm himself, and as a result cured his allergies. He theorizes that we evolved alongside parasites to survive and since we're removing them from our bodies our bodies cannot cope.

      November 15, 2010 at 14:46 | Report abuse |
    • Xilo

      Over-sterilization certainly plays a role in the development of allergies in people predisposed to them. However, the increase we've seen in recent years is also the result of more people with severe allergies surviving and procreating. The tendency to develop allergies has a strong genetic component. Whereas in previous generations, people with severe allergies would have died young without access to emergency medical interventions, they are now able to live nearly normal lives and pass on their genes to a new generation.

      November 15, 2010 at 20:34 | Report abuse |
    • Jessica in Texas

      Allergies are more prevalent in developed countries, so it is not surprising that more and more allergies are emerging. It is thought that this is because the cells in your body that cause allergies are the same ones that fight off parasites. Since not as many people in developed countries have parasites, those cells, in a sense, don't have anything to do and cause allergies instead :) That's obviously an overly simplified way of explaining it, but that's a the gist. It's even possible to be allergic to the COLD. I don't understand why so many people reacted so negatively to this article, it seems that a lot of these negative responses, the person who wrote them does not understand the basics of allergies. People, do a little research at least before posting BS!

      December 13, 2010 at 12:28 | Report abuse |
  4. Oompa Looms

    Being allergic is a real thing. On OCT 31 i was planning a big halloween trick or treat bash at my house.....i ate some roasted & salted peanuts. about 6pm i got real nauseous and puked until early morning. im sad the kids didnt enjoy their party.

    November 15, 2010 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Howie

      That was not an allergic response. What did you drink with the nuts?

      November 16, 2010 at 13:05 | Report abuse |
  5. Old Timer

    The doctors and writers should put their credentials on their articles just so we know who is responsible.It would appear that some of the M.D. 's who write for this ridiculous blog are not real doctors......We know Dr Sanjay is and I wonder if he has time to read this GARBAGE?

    November 15, 2010 at 14:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. what

    allergic to semen?!

    November 15, 2010 at 14:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Myself

      That's what she said!

      November 15, 2010 at 14:24 | Report abuse |
    • LD in AR

      YES – this can happen – I had it happen!!!! My now ex-husband was on an antibotic that I am allergic to (did not know) and I keep getting yeast infections every time we messed around. Doctor finally realized it was I WAS ALLERGIC to his meds. Starting using protection when he was on meds and problem stopped. SO YES IT CAN HAPPEN!!!!

      November 15, 2010 at 15:12 | Report abuse |
    • Druscilla

      Yes, I am allergic to all citrus and if the guy I'm with eats any of it; I'm in a world of hurt. Not deadly, just very painful. Same thing with kissing them after they eat/drink something with citrus.

      November 15, 2010 at 17:56 | Report abuse |
    • Lioness

      Yes, there are proteins in it, and therefore, the partner may have an allergic reaction to it. It is one possible causes of infertility.

      November 16, 2010 at 08:26 | Report abuse |
  7. Robert

    What qualifies so many readers that are commenting here to say that this is all "GARBAGE" and "NONSENSE"?

    I read and learned:

    * that even the saliva of a person that has recently ingested peanuts or some other allergen can cause a reaction through a kiss..

    * Nickel is just one of the many metals people can be allergic to, and its presence in cell phones and other technology items can make it appear that they are allergic to the phones themselves.

    * although not a surprise, but the bedbugs allergy is good to know because there is a difference between a simple reaction to the bite and an allergic reaction.

    Where is the garbage? where's the nonsense? More importantly: What have you written that's so deep and knowledgeable?

    November 15, 2010 at 14:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Howie

      The 'Garbage', and 'nonsense' is the fact that almost every case of supposed allergy is actually hypochondria. Actual severe allergies are so statistically rare as to be non-existent. Peanuts being a prime example, there is no such thing as a dangerous peanut allergy, but thousands of hypochondriacs will freak out if you tell them a peanut has been in the same room.

      November 16, 2010 at 13:09 | Report abuse |
  8. Bushy Bush

    Who's kissing bedbugs? Ugh! What'll these kids think of next?!

    November 15, 2010 at 14:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Fred

    When your child is deathly allergic to something then I bet you would want it banned in schools. Schools are supposed to be safe, if something has a serious potential to kill someone it should be banned. Yes I know it is an inconvenience to most, but if you could do something that would save the life of a child I'm hoping most people would be, well human enough, to avoid that.

    November 15, 2010 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • amy

      Unfortunately everyone can not live in a bubble because 1% of the population have severe allergies. Your child should be taught how to properly use an epi-pen and should never be without one.

      November 15, 2010 at 14:49 | Report abuse |
    • Druscilla

      Agreed; I have some pretty severe allergies too but it is my problem. Not anyone elses. I certainly wouldn't ask my fellow employees or any of my fellow students to do without citrus or wheat because of me. The child/family with the issue must learn to deal with the issues that humanity presents in the course of every day life. It is selfish to think otherwise.

      November 15, 2010 at 18:00 | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      Using an epi-pen is not something to be taken lightly anyway. When you have an anaphylactic reaction, you use an epi pen which administers a huge dose of adreneline and has some health risks) and have to take benedryl and steroids for several days. If a child is being exposed to a deadly allergen and having to do this regularly it would be extremely detrimental to his/her health. Peanuts are one food I think should be banned because of the severity of the reaction.

      November 15, 2010 at 21:52 | Report abuse |
    • Bella Tanner

      Nothing can be totally free of allerigens. I read on the back of packages all the time that says the product may contain or was made at a facility that processes peanuts. Now my item iteself has no nuts in it. Now I understand this concern as an adult but a six year old isn't going to. He brings a product he thinks is safe to school and shares with the kid that has allergies thinking he is being nice. The kid has an allergic reaction to the trace of peanut. Teaching the allergic child to ask questions, maybe taught not to eat anything without consulting an adult 1st can avoid some of this more than banning. Same thing can be said with planes. They may not serve peanuts anymore, but are they checking my bags for the Baby Ruth, Trail Mix or something else that might contain trace elements of peanuts? NOPE, think they have bigger concerns.

      November 16, 2010 at 11:19 | Report abuse |
    • Howie

      No one's child is deathly allergic to peanuts. Plenty of ignorant over-anxious parents will convince their children to have some sort of psycho-somatic reaction when knowingly exposed, but people do not die from peanut exposure. If we really were being assailed by the epidemic of deadly peanut allergies that these hyper parents scream about, then we would hear daily news reports about dead (or at least hospitalized) children. If you search for a long time, you may find two reports of death by peanut ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD in the last 20 years. One was in Canada, and it was later determined that the young lady died from a shellfish allergy. So, we have exactly one confirmed case of death by peanut. One. How many people consumed peanuts or peanut products in that time frame do you think? These allergies are almost exclusively bogus.

      November 16, 2010 at 13:15 | Report abuse |
    • Cheryl

      Howie: My neighbor's 9 year old daughter died from eating peanuts, and the ambulance could not make it out to our country neighborhood in time. She died before help arrived. Happened within the last 15 years. It happens. Believe it or not. More than you say/think/predict. And no hypochondriacs included. Just very sensitive people with a very serious issue. Someday will come when you, or if you have a loved one, will have a serious issue (you may already...)...then you will not take it so lightly.

      November 16, 2010 at 19:09 | Report abuse |
  10. Leslie

    I am amazed at the responses from so many ignorant people. Allergies are real and can be life threatening. Agreed that carrying an Epi Pen and being cautious is extremely important for allergic people, however, banning peanuts in schools and on planes is such a simple action that can be life changing for the most sensitive people. I am certain that doing without peanuts on planes and in schools will not emotionally "scar" anyone for life. Peanuts can be equally enjoyed outside of these environements at other times.

    November 15, 2010 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • snowbird

      I'm allergic and I disagree with eliminating peanuts in school. It starts there and proceeds to everything under the sun. There are many precautions that can be and are made and that is plenty if they are followed.

      I know a boy who is severely allergic to peanuts....they have an "action plan" at school.

      November 15, 2010 at 15:19 | Report abuse |
    • Havok

      Until they're not allowed on public buses, in restaurants, and eventually grocery stores.
      A car could potentially run me over and kill me, therefore I want cars banned from public use...

      November 15, 2010 at 15:55 | Report abuse |
  11. Bryan

    I am very allergies to credit card, dollar, coins so I cant have any of money...you cant debt on me :-)

    November 15, 2010 at 15:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. C Wood

    Blame the story on the American people. With an attention span the length of a thirty second commercial, they require new news stories every five minutes or so. There's just not that much to report.

    November 15, 2010 at 15:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. snowbird

    I'm allergic, severely to shellfish, I've never had an issue with being around it, or kissing my husband after and it could kill me. I am also allergic to Bees.

    The last thing I will do is ask anyone to avoid shellfish because I am around. Those who know me well, know and warn me if there is food with shellfish in it.

    The only real issue is eating out. I don't shy from ordering fish, however I do make it very clear I am allergic to to shellfish when I order and in GOOD restaurants, they will disinfect the area of prep before preparing my meal....I have been approached by managers to make sure this was done and my meal was fine. Sometimes we have to wait a bit longer and that is fine, if I'm avoiding an issue!

    November 15, 2010 at 15:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Tukker

    How can you write stuff about allergies you have no knowledge about at all?
    If you have a worse peanut alelrgy, even the smell of peanuts will make you sick as a dog.
    If you make a news post then at least get your facts sorted out.

    November 15, 2010 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • elandau

      Actually, Tukker, I am allergic to peanuts, and I am very sensitive to fact that the smell of peanuts can cause discomfort for some. However, as this article states, only 1 percent of people with peanut allergies react to the smell or touch of peanuts.

      Thanks for reading.

      Elizabeth Landau
      CNN.com

      November 15, 2010 at 16:06 | Report abuse |
    • Howie

      It has been conclusively proven that the smell of peanuts does not contain enough protein to cause any reaction in even the most sensitive people. Anyone who claims an allergic reaction caused by the smell of peanuts is a hypochondriac.

      November 16, 2010 at 13:17 | Report abuse |
  15. Len

    Are there really more allergies, or more people able to afford to be TESTED for these allergies. A have a feeling more people just dealt with their reactions before.

    November 15, 2010 at 15:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. meh

    I'm allergic to a duck's quack. I break out in hives and soil myself when i hear one.

    November 15, 2010 at 15:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cheryl

      Well, then...meh: I bet you have a hard time watching the tube with all those AFLAC commercials, hmmm?

      November 16, 2010 at 19:12 | Report abuse |
  17. Anna

    people who suggest that the only proper social response to the nut/peanut issue is to require those with the life threatening allergies to self administer at time of exposure have no idea what it is like to actually *HAVE* an allergic reaction. I am part of this, allegedly only, 1%. And I have required the help of other people: and I'm a grown-up. Sometimes, I can barely respond! Young children cannot be forced to face this alone...we need to recognize that this is actually a true *disablity*. They recognize this in other countries. The UK for example. People with life threatening allergies often have to live altered lifes. Often, they can't work in certain jobs(food industy, in airlines, movie theatres, grorcery stores, etc) or use public and private transportation.

    November 15, 2010 at 16:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Hey Blogger!!!

    Dear Miss Elizabeth Landeau,

    Is this a blog as in a webpage that is based on entertainment where the postings have no references behind them? Like a personal blog?

    Does CNN write and approve the articles?

    What is the requirement to become a medical writer ?

    Enlighten us?

    Empower us?

    Or it will be known "your opinion" is equal to that of anyone walking down the street.....

    CNN was not built around opinion but on reporting the news as accurately as possible!!!

    November 15, 2010 at 16:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • my2cents

      I think it is a blog with links to CNN's website. It is wordpress so that says enough.I think Dr. Gupta lends his name and contributes a few stories.They have guest physicians but I am not sure who the writers are. WebMD has a disclaimer also stating it does not replace a physician consultation.The disclaimers below state it is for entertainment purposes.I do see where some of the stories/articles are confusing but I think it is like all blogs to create web hits.peace out

      November 15, 2010 at 19:50 | Report abuse |
  19. Helen

    Let me get this right – I should be ready at all times to give myself an epipen because I have severe allergies. Well that doesn't work so well if you faint due to the allergy. That has happened to me several times. Luckily I was with friends and family who were able to help. Having a severe allergy to food can cause your blood pressure to fall making you faint. Not to mention the fact that I can't breathe due to the asthma attack. I don't agree with prohibiting foods for everyone but if I say I'm allergic I would hope you wouldn't eat them next to me in an airplane.

    November 15, 2010 at 16:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. john

    cool

    November 15, 2010 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Jon

    I allergic to vagina. Every time I come into contact with one, I swell up pretty huge.

    November 15, 2010 at 19:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LaughOutLoud

      ha ha!! I feel so empowered now!

      November 15, 2010 at 19:52 | Report abuse |
    • Cheryl

      Then stay gay, Jon.

      November 16, 2010 at 19:14 | Report abuse |
    • Sheryl

      I don't think your gay!

      November 18, 2010 at 11:13 | Report abuse |
  22. Joe

    I'm ridiculously allergic to bees, but I don't want to see all bees eradicated. You live, you die. That's how life works. Those people who aren't allergic live longer to pass on more of their genes. Whoever said there was some guarantee for life to be allergy free?

    November 15, 2010 at 19:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Blarger

    God Damn pussies! Just eat the damn nuts and die!!!! Our society doesn't want to inherit your defective genes.

    November 15, 2010 at 19:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. DumbestStoriesOf2010

    1)Debt is the new slavery
    2)Soledad's battle against a photographer who asked if she was black
    3)Elliot Spitzer .....becoming the moral compass of CNN...The new 8 p.m.
    4)Elizabeth Cohen Empowered Patient ...3 of 5 stories were her own family
    5)Eatocracy ..... The super Salmon..A chef's perspective
    6)Rick's List Jews Run CNN..

    Vote Now at CNN non-Heroes!!!!

    November 15, 2010 at 20:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Frank Como

    I'm Frank Como the "BedBug Chaser" and I get rid of bedbugs, spiders & stink bugs with 100% safe GREEN electric heat. Did you know the US Armed Forces dealt with BedBugs – they cooked them, just like me! A little shot of frozen gas or steam won't get to where bedbugs hide . You've read the horror stories about pesticides – STOP don't expose your home to those call me 908-510-8110 or visit our site http://www.BedBugChaser.com – I'm easy to find. If you're interested in ridding the world of bedbugs and making some money here's your chance. Call me personally at 908-51-8110 and I'll put your name on our list and let's see if you have what it takes to be a "BedBug Chaser".

    November 16, 2010 at 08:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Bernard ShawPR

    True allergies do exist.....CNN is becoming allergic to real journalism and have followed Faux News into the TMZ-style of gossip and innuendo.....Bernard Shaw was right.....anything for ratings and web hits ......Have a special on a black person describing how she was bullied by a photographer...ratings gold baby!

    November 16, 2010 at 10:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. blinditem

    would you trust an anchor who resigned in disgrace from being an elected official? Let me add he was using an escort service and is married..Would you trust this person who could not conduct himself properly in his own life?
    how much did Ashley Dupree charge to use the back door Governor Spitzer?

    CNN the most trusted station for people who like to pick up escorts.......

    how ironic that Amber Lyon of CNN does an investigative news article on how Craig's List and the escort problem!!!
    Did Amber find Elliot Spitzers name on Craig's List adult services?
    Amber should look for Client number 9 or Mr. Toad?
    We as viewers are suppose to believe Elliot after he LIED about it?
    poor Kathleen Parker I still respect her!

    November 16, 2010 at 10:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. John

    What is up with CNN and Bedbugs? Are bedbugs that big of a problem? Jeannie does a story , then Brooke ,then Pete now a blog article.....It is not on any other networks or in the papers...Is this a CNN exclusive?

    November 16, 2010 at 18:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sheryl

      bedbugs bedbugs bedbugs.....
      CNN the BEDBUGS network....................

      November 18, 2010 at 11:15 | Report abuse |
  29. Mico Semp

    Bedbugs and Allergic issues? Decongreeninc

    November 28, 2010 at 23:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. paulhibbert123123

    omg this bed bug thing is getting out of control. I just had an infestation in my rental unit. I have a 10 unit building. Only one unit had a problem but I was afraid it would spread. I ended up calling these guys and they took care of everything. They were very professional and did an excellent job. Plus they were non-toxic and the tenants didn't have to leave the apartment for too long. http://www.decongreeninc.com

    December 15, 2010 at 21:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Myk3

    this is not a joke, after 20 years of being alone and single (both of us) Me and my first girlfrind from middle/highschool hooked up... and it took a week or two – to figure out that her kisses were making me sick... and its not a food allergy, and in fact i went to the doctor and the suggested MONO, wrong!!!! i dont know why, and its not food! !! doctor said could be perfume or something else?! im not allergic to ANYTHING, so this supprises me... im just curious and wondering why i kiss her, and my throat feels like its closing and my nose runs and plugs (instantly in under 20 secconds!) and it sometimes takes 2-3 days for me to recover... i can kiss her and not get serious side effects, but when we make out its awful!

    doctors are wrong, and i know its possible... i see it here on this forum... kinda lost for word...

    June 6, 2011 at 00:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Bed Bug Killer

    Bed bugs aren't just disgusting and bothersome; some people are actually allergic to them also, and can develop asthmatic symptoms, researchers say. In rare cases, some allergy sufferers may experience a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis from bed bug bites.- Ryan

    June 21, 2011 at 06:52 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.