Don't Let Allergies Ruin Your Romance

Because spending Valentine's Day covered in hives isn't fun for anyone.


February 14 is supposed to be the day we celebrate love. It's not supposed to be the day we celebrate antihistamines.

But we all know Valentine's Day rarely goes the way we want it to, and that's especially true for people with allergies. According to New York-based allergist and immunologist Clifford Bassett, MD, he sees an uptick in allergy-related incidents during and after the day of love every single year.

"On Valentine's Day we get a lot of people coming in with scent allergies, food allergies, respiratory allergies," he says.

Why? Just take a second to think about classic Valentine's Day gifts: perfume, chocolate, flowers... yep, it's allergy central.

But having an allergy doesn't mean you have to forego the festivities. Dr. Bassett has some tips for making sure your (or your partner's) allergies don't get in the way of the romance this weekend:

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1 Be Open About Your Allergies

scratch itch

The easiest way to avoid a Valentine's Day trip to the pharmacy or hospital is to just be honest. You don't want your partner to give you a Whitman's sampler if you have a chocolate or nut allergy, nor do you want to give your significant other a giant bottle of cologne if one spritz is just going to give them a migraine for the rest of the night.

"Think about it: If you can't breathe, your nose is running, and your eyes are itchy, you most likely aren't gonna feel very sexy," Bassett says, which is why it's best to have the "allergy talk" before you start making Valentine's Day plans.

2 Buy Allergy-Friendly Sweets


Chocolates and other treats can contain milk, nuts, eggs, and other ingredients that might trigger allergic reactions. Pay close attention to the ingredient list and choose an option that won't affect your partner. You can also look for allergy-friendly companies that make goodies that are free of nuts, eggs, dairy, and gluten, such as Divvies, Premium Chocolatiers, Vermont Nut Free Chocolate Company, and Fancypants Baking Company.

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3 Buy Allergy-Friendly Flowers

keanu flowers

Fragrant flowers, such as jasmine, gardenia, oriental lilies, dianthus, lavender, and lilacs, can cause a lot of "allergy misery," Bassett says. Instead, look for flowers that have less pollen, such as Asiatic lilies, tulips, or Bassett's personal favorite, orchids.

4 Buy Allergy-Friendly Jewelry

pretty woman jewelry

Jewelry can contain nickel, which is one of the most common allergies that Bassett sees in his office and causes rashes, itching, and sometimes blisters. If you want to buy jewelry for your partner, look for jewelry that's nickel-free. Even better, buy jewelry made with hypoallergenic materials, such as nickel-free stainless steel, surgical-grade stainless steel, titanium, 18-karat yellow gold, nickel-free 14-karat yellow gold, sterling silver, copper, and platinum.

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5 Don't Forget to Consider Location When Making Plans

restaurant allergy

It's important to keep in mind that there are also things in the surrounding environment that can aggravate someone's allergies, including fireplaces, candles, plants, air fresheners, and so on. If you plan to eat out and either you or your partner is allergic to a particular type of food, call the restaurant ahead of time to make sure they can cater to your dietary restrictions. Likewise, if you know your partner has a fragrance allergy, you should go easy on the perfume.

6 Beware of Misleading Labels

Labels like "hypoallergenic" don't always mean those products are safe for people who have sensitive skin. Allergies are a very specific, individualized thing, Bassett says. "If you have sensitive skin, or if you have specific types of allergies [to things like] moisturizers, sunscreens, preservatives in products, fragrances in products, you should share that with your sweetheart so you can weigh in on the types of things you try to avoid," he adds.

For more allergy-friendly Valentine's Day tips and gift ideas, check out these recommendations from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

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