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Daniel More, MD

Valentine's Day Allergies

By February 12, 2012

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The concept of Valentine's Day allergies doesn't make much sense to most people -- until you think about it. This Tuesday, February 14, is Valentine's Day, when we give flowers, candy and other presents to the special people in our lives. But if these people have food allergies or nasal allergies, you may also be giving them something you didn't intend -- an allergic reaction.

Exposure to colorful flowers can cause nasal allergy symptoms, but only when a person puts their nose close enough to the flower to smell its scent. This is because colorful flowers, such as roses, rely on insects to pollinate them, rather than non-colorful plants, such as some trees and most grasses, which rely on the wind to pollinate them. Therefore, it's common for florists and flower recipients on Valentine's Day to experience sneezing and stuffy noses as a result of smelling their special flowers.

Chocolate treats are also given on Valentine's Day. Many of these chocolates may have hidden ingredients such as treenuts and peanuts, which could cause an allergic reaction in people with food allergies. Even in chocolates that aren't supposed to contain nuts, it's still possible that they do.

This Valentine's Day, if your sweetheart suffers from hay fever or nut allergies, skip the flowers and chocolate altogether, and do something different -- take him or her out to a nice dinner or buy them jewelry.

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