The combination of a kiss and an allergy to nuts has resulted in death for a teenage girl.
Fifteen year old Christina Desforges, 15, from Saguenay, north of Quebec City, died a few days after kissing her boyfriend who had earlier eaten a peanut-butter sandwich.
When Christina lapsed into anaphylactic shock she was given a shot of adrenalin, which is the usual method of treatment, but doctors were unable to revive her.
Although the official cause of death has not been released, medical experts say that even remnants of peanuts on the tongue and lips can still cause a reaction in someone who is allergic.
They say sufferers must tell the people they’re close to of the allergy in order to ensure that they are not in close contact with nuts or peanuts.
Figures show that as many as 100 people in the U.S. die each year as a result of food allergies, the majority from exposure to nuts.
Allergic symptoms can include itchiness, a tingling in the mouth, stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhoea.
A far more serious reaction may result in a drop in blood pressure and a swelling of the face and throat, which can block breathing.
Revision date: June 11, 2011
Last revised: by Jorge P. Ribeiro, MD