If you’ve walked into any store lately and seen aisles full of red hearts, then we don’t have to tell you that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.

While many are excited to exchange gifts with loved ones, the holiday can be dreadful (even life-threatening) for allergy sufferers. If you’re in the giving mood this February 14th, be mindful of these allergy triggers that might affect your sweetheart.

Flowers

Flowers are the most common and least avoidable allergen on our list. While food and other items can be avoided, it’s hard to escape their presence once they are in a room. Rose, jasmine, narcissus, gardenia, lily of the valley, citrus and eucalyptus trees are some of the most common plant sources of allergic reactions. Better choices for plant and flower gifts include hydrangea, iris, tulip, and zinnia.
 

Chocolates & Candies

The most common food allergens are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat.

Food allergies are the most problematic and difficult to work around because it’s hard to know which ingredient is included in a recipe or if that food has been exposed to a known allergen. Chocolate for example, is particularly tricky. Allergies to cocoa are actually pretty rare. It’s usually the soy or dairy included in chocolate recipes which causes symptoms to flair. Depending on the severity of the food allergy, a chocolate made on shared equipment or even in the same facility as nuts poses a huge danger.

The safest candy for an allergy-sufferer on Valentine’s Day are conversation hearts, which basically only consists of sugar.
 

Perfumes

Many oils, lotions and fragrances have ingredients that cause rashes, irritation, or sneezing. Since these allergies are less common, it’s best to ask your loved ones which products you should avoid. More likely than not, they have an absolute list of scents that cause them issues.
 

Stuffed Animals

The problem with stuffed animals is not the stuffed animal itself, it’s the dust and danger that hide in the fibers of the toy that cause allergy-sufferers unpleasantness. If you are intent on gifting a stuffed animal on Valentine’s Day, washing them is the best bet in keeping them allergy-free.

Allergy Emergencies

Don’t let your Valentine’s Day be cut short. A little mindfulness around allergies can go a long way. Those with food allergies should discuss anaphylaxis action plans with their doctors and educate those close to them as to what to do in an emergency. If symptoms such as shortness of breath, throat closure and dizziness appear surrounding allergies, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room. And always carry around a list of medications taken and emergency contact information in case you need to go to the hospital.
 

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