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A Rash of Kisses

In some people with food allergies, a smooch can trigger hives and more

6:56pm, July 16, 2002

Silly greeting cards often depict a kiss on the cheek of a cartoon figure as a big red imprint of lips. For people with a serious food allergy, real kisses sometimes leave the same mark. But it's not funny. The red wheal signals an allergic hypersensitivity to food residues on the smoocher's mouth. Three new surveys have confirmed what many allergists had been hearing anecdotally–that kisses can trigger allergic reactions.

The most detailed analysis emerges from research at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine. There, during the past 5 years, Suzanne S. Teuber has been surveying people diagnosed with allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, and seeds.

Among 316 patients with especially severe allergies–the type that can induce wheezing and anaphylactic shock–20 had mentioned that they had developed hives or other symptoms af

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