In today’s article, we are talking about uncommon but curious allergy. It is unusual, but not unheard-of, for one human to experience an allergic reaction after having contact with another.
Sometimes you might find yourself feeling itchy after shaking hands or kissing someone. Perhaps the allergic reaction is stronger after hugging someone, such as having trouble breathing, wheezing, sneezing or coughing. Perhaps it goes as far as rashy skin or hives. When this happens, you start to wonder, can one human be allergic to another?
When You Experience An Allergic Reaction To Human Touch, The Culprit Is Often Another Allergen
While it is potentially possible for humans to be allergic to each other, and most cases the culprit is less about the human and more about what that other human has had contact with. You may not realize that you are sensitive to a particular allergen, or perhaps the reaction is a fleeting one, a one-time deal.
But since we can’t follow around the other humans all day, we don’t generally know when we shake hands with someone what they have touched before touching us.
For example, I am very very allergic to dust mites. I come within an inch of them and I get taken down with sneezing, watery eyes, and runny nose. I have to be very aggressive in my home about washing blankets, changing clothing, covering pillows an mattresses, and vacuuming.
But there’s a limit to what I can do to protect myself. I cannot be as aggressive about keeping those dust mites from having any sort of contact with me through other people, because I don’t know what other people do during the day.
Dust mites commonly found in dust, (surprise surprise), and other people come in contact with dust in all kinds of ways. They may come into contact with dust mites in their own attic or basement, in a second hand clothing shower, or even in used bookstores.
It may be as simple as grabbing a book off a bookshelf that hasn’t been opened in a while. Or it may be as simple as having cuddled with a blanket on their own couch that hasn’t been washed in a while.
Since I cannot directly observe which allergens this person may be carrying or bringing into my home, I have no way to know whether or not I am allergic to the dust mites that are on their sweatshirt, or allergic to the person.
Sometimes, after touching someone, I will start to sneeze and sneeze, and it can’t be controlled until I take an antihistamine. It may seem as though I am having an allergic reaction to the person I just hugged, when it is in fact a reaction to the dust mites they just cuddled with.
I don’t mean to make light of people who are actually struggling with sensitivities to other people by comparing my dust mite sensitivity. I know that there are people out there who are struggling so much that they can’t even be in the same room with people that that love, because doing so makes them sick (coughing, lightheadedness, itchiness, flushing, stomach pain/cramping, diarrhea, coughing, and more).
Basic Immune System Theory Says That SOMETHING Must Be The Cause
But how could I be allergic to human touch? From what we know about the immune system response, something has to get onto or into our bodies for the immune system to do something. In most cases, your body isn’t going to start coughing or produce hives or tons of mucus there isn’t a reason for it. In general, if you are having a reaction after touching another human, it is because something from that human is triggering our system.
If we live in a bubble, and nothing can touch us, we’re not going to have immune system responses. If we do, the problem isn’t one of allergies, it is a faulty immune system.
And like dust mites, throughout our day, we may come into contact with allergens unknowingly through other people or contact with surfaces. it may also be the case that something is causing you to have a reaction and you don’t realize that it is the culprit.
For example, many people do not realize that their cell phones, tablets, or other devices, contain Metals which may be an allergen to them, such as nickel or Cobalt. Others do not realize that common components of their clothing, even the buttons or zippers, can cause allergic reactions.
When I started the research for this article, I did not realize that lanolin is a product derived from sheet, and that many people are allergic to it even though it is a product that is claimed to be natural. There are many common products (including foods) which contain allergens, and you might not even know it. For example, people who are sensitive to pollen may also be sensitive to fresh fruits and vegetables!
Sensitivity To Human Produced Secretions
There are also documented instances where individuals are found to be sensitive to the secretions of other humans, such as tears, saliva, and reproductive fluids. These allergies are more rare than allergies to products or substances (aside from the human produced ones).
If you find that your face gets itchy after kissing someone, it could be that you are such are allergic to a product that individual is using, that it is the saliva that is the problem, or in a small number of cases, it is actually the physical contact with the skin that causes the immunological response.
What we know from allergies to other humans secretions is that it tends to vary from person to person. If you are really concerned about whether or not you are allergic to something a person is putting on themselves, or it seems to be the specific person that is causing the trouble, you may want to work with them to test out your theories of what could be the cause.
Take a look at the products that they or touch. Gather information about places that they go or what they come into contact with. After all, it could be something that they are eating.
And finally, if you think it may be the saliva or other secretion from their body, you may consider kissing on someone else to see if a similar reaction results. The more data you have, the more likely you will be able to figure out what is the cause of the itchiness so that you can work to put a stop to it.
If you are still experiencing reactions after touching other humans, and you can’t figure out the cause, consider talking with your doctor or a specialist. It could be as simple as digging a little more (or systematically) to discover the trouble-making allergen.
We have to acknowledge that there is a lot about human bodies that we don’t know. Sciences, long way in even the last 20 years, and during my lifetime. I cannot even buy them where we will be 10 to 20 years. Perhaps your reaction is currently inexplicable. I do however have hope that very soon, the inexplicable will become explicable.
Including the itchiness you feel after holding hands or kissing your boyfriend.
Emily Anderson is a mother of three children, all under the age of 10. Located in the Pacific Northwest of the US, Emily is a mom and part-time blogger, jumping in front of the computer when the kids are sleeping. She started this blog in April of 2019 and is proud that the blog is now paying for itself. If you want to know about her journey as a blogger, check out out her personal digital journal or her post about failing her way to blogging success.