An allergic reaction to seafood may pinch romance for couple

People's Pharmacy

April 20, 2003|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,Special to the Sun; King Features Syndicate

My girlfriend is allergic to shrimp and crab and, I suspect, lobster as well. I love those foods but have avoided eating them since we have been together.

This summer, we are planning a vacation at the beach, where I always make a couple of meals with shrimp or crab. My question is, how can I avoid causing her distress? Do I have to wait awhile after eating to kiss her? How long? Can I speed the process by vigorous brushing and mouth washing?

Your concern is justified. A February report in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings describes a woman who experienced a life-threatening allergic reaction from shellfish after being kissed by her boyfriend.

He had eaten a few shrimp roughly an hour before the goodnight kiss. Within a minute, her lips swelled, her throat began to close, she experienced hives, abdominal cramps and wheezing, and her blood pressure dropped to 80 / 50.

Since we cannot guarantee that brushing your teeth or using a mouthwash will protect your girlfriend, you might need to avoid either shellfish or kissing on your vacation to prevent a disastrous reaction.

Tell your readers who are concerned about toenail fungus that many of us have had improvement from soaking our toes in a solution of vinegar and water. A nurse practitioner suggested 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water, 15 minutes per day. It takes time, so don't give up.

My physician has also recommended Vicks VapoRub around the nail. I'm pleased with the improvement I have seen.

Your health professionals might have learned about these remedies in this column. Many readers have shared similar success stories. Others report that topical applications of vitamin E oil or Pau d'Arco tea can be helpful. When all else fails, urea paste can dissolve the infected nail.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or e-mail them via their Web site,

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