As you search for the perfect Valentine's Day gift for your loved one, remember that many of the most popular gifts may trigger allergic reactions. Dr. Andy Nish, MD, of NGPG Allergy and Asthma in Gainesville, Georgia, tells Newsmax that folks with allergies and asthma may have a hard time handling scents and odors.
"You may want to run your proposed gift by your loved one before you wind up with hurt feelings," he advises.
Here are some common examples:
- Chocolates. While chocolate itself is seldom a problem — and may indeed be a healthy offering if it contains at least 70% cocoa — Nish says that many chocolate candies contain nuts that may be problematic for your sweetheart. According to statistics, peanut allergy is on the rise and can lead to anaphylaxis and death.
- Clothing. "If your Valentine has skin issues such as atopic dermatitis, stick with cotton in gifts of clothing as opposed to wool or synthetics," says Nish.
- Jewelry. Dr. Rajani Katta, a dermatologist and clinical assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine, says nickel is the No. 1 metal used in jewelry that can cause contact dermatitis. Because it is strong and inexpensive, nickel is often mixed with other metals so it is hard to identify. Purchase a nickel test kit or shop at jewelry stores that certify their products are nickel-free.
- Perfume. "With perfume, it's really tricky since there is nothing on the label that can help you," says Katta. For those with sensitive skin, Katta recommends spot testing on clothing instead of directly on the skin. Common allergic reactions to perfume include sneezing, itchy eyes, headaches, and rashes. The same caveat applies for popular essential oils. "Everyone's skin is different, so someone may react to a particular fragrance and someone else may not," says Katta. Or better still, be a sleuth and find out your sweetheart's favorite scent to be on the safe side.
- Flowers. Flowers may be one of the most popular gifts for Valentine's Day, but they can also cause an allergic reaction. Dr. Sanjiv Sur, an allergist at Baylor, says the most common culprits are members of the asteracea family such as chrysanthemums, daisies, and sunflowers. The most allergy-friendly flowers, says Sur, are flowers from the lily family such as tulips or hyacinths. Roses also have a reputation for not causing allergies, he says.
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