Help! I Think I’m Allergic to My Partner

editor@purewow.com (PureWow)

You love everything bagels with grape jelly. He loves everything bagels with grape jelly. You two were meant to be. But after a few blissful months of dating, you’ve started to notice that a weird rash appears on your body every time you guys hang out. What the heck is going on? We tapped Dr. Purvi Parikh, allergist and immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network, to talk about what to do when you’re allergic to the person you’re dating.

Relax—chances are that you’re not actually allergic to your one and only. Instead, you’re probably reacting to something your partner has or uses. Think: A fragrance (in their cologne or another product like shampoo), a pet or latex condoms. “People with severe food allergies have reacted to a food (say, peanut) allergen on their partner's lips when they kiss them,” Dr. Parikh tells us. And before you ask—yes, you can very rarely develop allergies to another person’s sperm. (But this issue only affects 0.01 percent of the population, so it’s pretty unlikely that’s the problem.)  

But if you’ve had a rash, itchy or watery eyes, a runny nose, or experienced asthma symptoms like coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath, the problem definitely could be some sort of allergy. Not sure if you should blame your puffy eyes on the changing seasons or your boyfriend’s French bulldog? See a board-certified allergist for a thorough history, physical and allergy test to see what your triggers are.

Here’s the good news: You don’t have to break up with your partner. Treatment options depend on the allergen and the severity (Dr. Parikh tells us that the latex, food or fragrance in question should all be avoided), but there’s plenty you guys can do to nix those nasty symptoms. (Again, an allergist will help you figure out the best course of action.)

Will your partner have to get rid of Fido? Maybe, maybe not. You could try medications (like nasal sprays, antihistamines or asthma inhalers) to help manage your symptoms and take precautions, like keeping the pets out of the bedroom and using an air purifier. “For pets, there is also the option of allergy shots to make you less allergic, but it’s not 100 percent guaranteed to work,” Dr. Parikh explains.

So sure. Your partner may need to make some adjustments. But swapping shampoo brands is so much easier than trying to find someone who shares your passion for weird food combos, right?

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