I gave my love a … rash?

That special something you’re giving your special someone on Friday could be red. And itchy.

Nickel is the number one metal used in jewelry, according to Dr. Rajani Katta, a dermatologist at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. That can be true even in pricey jewelry. But nickel also can cause the red, itchy rash known as dermatitis. If your special someone is allergic and the jewelry you give her or him contains nickel, the reaction typically will show up a few days later.

That’s not the only Valentine’s Day allergy peril presented in a news release shared by the Baylor folks. Perfume, for some, may cause symptoms such as sneezing, headaches, itchy eyes and rashes, Katta said.

Flowers also can be perilous, according to Dr. Sanjiv Sur, an allergist at the school. The worst offenders are from the asteraceae family, including chrysanthemums, daisies and sunflowers.

Happily, flowers from the lily family — tulips or hyacinths, say — are allergy-friendly. Or, Sur said, stick with roses, which have a reputation for not stirring up allergy symptoms.

Plus, they’re easier to spell than chrysanthemums.

Tackle tobacco, too

Including nicotine treatment as part of treatment for substance use disorders is better all around, according to a pilot study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

The study took place at two treatment programs in Minneapolis and one in St. Cloud, according to a DHS news release. That’s a small-scale study, but what it found was that people treated for both nicotine and substance use disorders were more likely to complete the latter than those only treated for their substance use issues.

Among those participating, 11% stopped smoking, and almost seven in 10 showed measurable improvement in their substance use disorder, according to the news release.

Smoking rates are still high among those with substance abuse disorder, the news release noted. In 2018, 14% of the state’s adults were smokers, according to Minnesota Department of Health data. But 77% of adults in substance use treatment smoked.

“By providing people in substance use disorder treatment with nicotine treatment, programs are able to promote the health and recovery from all addictions, Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead concluded.


  • St. Luke’s Eye Care has moved from the eighth floor to the second floor of the Medical Arts Building, 324 W. Superior St. It’s in Suite 220. The clinic opened in December and also has locations in Hermantown, Hibbing and Superior. More information is at slhduluth.com/EyeCare.

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota will offer a free class for young people who have experienced psychosis and/or their family members. The class will be from 6-8 p.m. March 5 at the Human Development Center, 810 E. Fourth St. For more information or to register (required) call 651-645-2948 or see “classes” at namimn.org.

Compiled by John Lundy