During an electrifying night out with multiple instances of PDA along the streets of Manhattan, I reflected on a story about kissing that I was told during summer camp. As we campers departed Honesdale, PA after two months away from home, we shared stories of what happened on the last night. One girl noted that she almost got to first base with a boy she liked but couldn’t do anything because he had eaten a peanut candy bar from the canteen. She claimed that if they had waited three hours after he ate nuts (which apparently they didn’t have?) then she would have been fine – leading me to believe that it takes three hours for your mouth to clean itself of all food. Her conviction was so sound I didn’t question it for years, despite all of the horrid stories in the media about the “kiss of death.” Today I looked to debug her information.
A few years ago, Mount Sinai studied the post-eating saliva of ten people who just had a peanut butter sandwich. After five minutes, the peanut allergen was still recognized in seven of ten people; after one hour, only one person still withheld the allergen in their saliva, and he wasn’t allergen-free until 4.5 hours later. While I couldn’t find much more beyond this study, which seemed too small to rule out my initial thought, I now resolve to pass along one doctor’s advice: “if you can’t [avoid peanuts altogether], the next safety strategy is to wait several hours and eat several meals without peanuts before kissing your partner.” (WebMD) While her guidance is often easier said than done, be as careful as possible, especially during a long night of fun.