How not to leave your lover breathless for the wrong reasons this Valentine’s Day

13 Feb 2017

Some of the most common Valentine’s Day gifts are also some of the most common asthma and allergy triggers. Valentine’s Day is not for everyone, but if you are planning something special for your significant other this February 14 and your love is susceptible to asthma or allergies, then flowers, perfumes, colognes and scented candles may be off the cards. So what to surprise them with instead?

Roses are red, violets are blue … but wheezing and sneezing? Not so sweet! We all know that fresh flowers, and red roses in particular, are pretty much the number one go-to gift to win someone’s heart on Valentine’s Day. Just ask any florist who has worked through February! The good news is that pollen allergies are not usually triggered by brightly coloured flowers, as these are generally pollenated by birds or insects - problem pollen usually comes from wind pollinated grasses, weeds and trees. However, for anyone whose asthma symptoms are triggered by fragrances or strong scents, fresh flowers may be not be ideal. But there are plenty of creative alternatives:

  • A rose by any other name … there are some beautiful low allergen roses. Why not give the gift of a climbing rose that can be lovingly tended all year? The Lady Banks is a low allergen climbing rose that blooms in yellow or white, and amongst the Australian natives there is the stunning Dog Rose. In fact most Australian natives are quite safe – although there are exceptions. Pay a visit to your local nursery for more information.
  • If your sweetheart has a sweet tooth, head to your local chocolate shop for a long stemmed rose (or a whole bunch of them!) that won’t make them sneeze but may make them smile. Chocolate roses are a lovely option.
  • There is an abundance of non-floral bouquet options out there that you can buy or even make yourself: sugar flowers, flowers carved from fruit - even bouquets of scarves and socks!

Gifts are of course just one part of the equation! Here are some tips and hopefully some inspiration to help you plan a fun, relaxing and romantic evening.

A candlelit room is undoubtedly romantic! If this is part of your scene setting for the evening, go for it – just use the unscented kind!

If your partner suffers from pollen allergies, an outdoor cinema or live theatre experience could be best avoided, but it’s hard to go wrong with an indoor option. Keep it simple by taking them to a movie you know they’d like, or if a Planetarium is an option for you, what about an evening in under the stars? It worked for Ross and Rachel (Friends fans unite)!

A relaxing massage is always a lovely gift and stress is a common asthma trigger so anything that reduces stress levels is an added bonus for those with the condition. But scented oils, both the artificial and the natural kind - such as essential oils - can be a trigger, so ask a couple of questions before you book. Can the therapist use unscented oils, and if necessary can they also avoid burning scented oils or candles in the room during the treatment?

Planning a surprise weekend away? When you pack your partner’s bag for them, it’s really important that you also pack a supply of any medication they may need. If this includes an asthma inhaler, make sure it is not empty or out of date.

If you want to celebrate your love by going out for a meal and your partner has asthma or food allergies, it can be anxiety provoking to think about how to choose somewhere that will accommodate their needs.

If the weather is warm it may be tempting to ask for an outdoor table, however, cigarette smoke is a major asthma trigger and many establishments do still have outdoor smoking areas, so be sure to investigate this.

Restaurant and meal options for those with food allergies are far broader and easier to identify than they used to be, but you may still want to plan ahead and ring the restaurant ahead of time to discuss your concerns. 

Finally, have a look at the products and services that are approved under our Sensitive Choice program. This is not permission to buy the love of your life a Valentine’s Day vacuum cleaner (although the exception may be if it comes with the offer of you doing the cleaning)! Brand new bedding, however, might just set the tone for romance, or simply a restful “doona day” for two.

Whatever you end up doing, we hope it’s romantic and memorable for you both. If your partner knows you’ve taken the time and made even just a little effort to consider their needs, a wonderful time is almost guaranteed!

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