We get asked frequently what the rules are for kissing if you or your significant other has a peanut allergy. There are no specific guidelines defined regarding this, but we do have some general safety recommendations for our patients here in the Salt Lake Valley.
Make sure your partner is aware that you have a food allergy. It may be awkward to discuss this, but it is very important to let your partner know before you kiss. Allergic systemic reactions or local skin reactions to foods have been reported in highly sensitized individuals from kissing.
In a small study, 38 patients were asked to eat 2 tablespoons of peanut butter. Peanut protein from the saliva was measured after 1 hour, as well as after various interventions such as brushing teeth, brushing and rinsing, rinsing, waiting then brushing, and waiting then chewing gum. The study found that most patients had undetectable salivary peanut protein after 1 hour with no interventions and all had undetectable levels several hours later after a peanut-free lunch. All of the interventions mentioned above like brushing teeth, rinsing, etc. reduced the amount of peanut protein overall, but the peanut protein was still detectable in approximately 40% of samples. This amount of protein is thought to be typically below thresholds reported to induce reactions, but still detectable.1
Therefore, to minimize risks:
For parties or social events, we recommend that you talk to the host regarding your food allergies prior to the party. Do not share foods or drinks with other people in case of cross contamination. Again, even if bulky, please carry your epinephrine device with you at all times.
Allergy Associates of Utah is an allergy, asthma, and immunology specialty clinic serving the greater Salt Lake City, Utah area with 2 convenient locations in Murray and West Jordan. Led by specialists Andrew Smith, MD, MS, and Tara Sarin, MD, the practice strives to help people of all ages and background achieve success. Request an appointment by phone or online at either Allergy Associates of Utah location for expert allergy and immunology care today.
1. Maloney JM, Chapman MD, Sicherer SH. Peanut allergen exposure through saliva: assessment and interventions to reduce exposure. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2006 Sep;118(3):719-24. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2006.05.017. Epub 2006 Jul 24. PMID: 16950293.