This year, make Halloween a treat not a trick. Candy and food at school parties are only half of the Halloween hurdle for parents when keeping allergic children safe while trick-or-treating. The scary part of Halloween should not be the food or candy. If your child has food allergies here are some precautions that Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care advice’s parents to take while trick-or-treating in addition to recognizing pumpkin allergies and some ideas for making Halloween a safe and fun experience.
Trick-or-treating precautions: A parent or guardian familiar with the child’s allergies should accompany the child at all times, as well as carry and be trained in using emergency medications like an Epipen. In addition, it’s always very important to carry a cell phone to call 911 if needed.
Parents should properly read labels before children consume any food or candy and have wipes ready in case of accidental contact with the food to which the child is allergic. Additionally, children with allergies should wear light gloves to protect them from accidental exposure to unsafe foods. Also, teach children it is ok to say “no thank you” to foods they are allergic to.
Ideas for a safer Halloween: Instead of candy or snacks, consider handing out other items such as pencils, stickers, plastic jewelry, art supplies, games or toys. A full stomach may also decrease the candy consumption. Have your child eat dinner before going trick-or-treating, so they won’t be tempted to eat while out. Another idea is letting your child use the candy for barter. Have your child trade the candy he or she collects for a wrapped present, or trade them for skipped chores or privileges at home. You can also consider preparing safe candy/sacks ahead of time to give to neighbors. When all else fails, you can put your own spin on Halloween fun and plan a different activity instead of trick-of-treating such as a scavenger hunt for safe treats.
“If your child suffers from allergies, we cannot stress enough the importance of always being aware of their surroundings. This Halloween, be mindful of the fact that allergens are everywhere – not just in the “fun-size” candy itself – but also on the hands and faces of other children who are eating the edible treats as they go door to door. Additionally, if your child’s costume requires any kind of make-up or face paint, beware! Some face paints may contain common allergens such as soy or nut oils. Check ingredients carefully before applying. Last but not least, remember to take a safety kit with you which must include: wet wipes to constantly clean your hands of any possible allergen contamination, your child’s epinephrine auto injector (EpiPen), and a charged cell phone to dial 911 in case of an emergency,” stated Dr. Zevy Landman.
Recognizing pumpkin allergies: Although pumpkin is not a food usually associated with allergic reactions, eating or carving a pumpkin may not be a treat for some allergic children. Simply carving a face in a pumpkin can bring on wheezing, sneezing, eyelid swelling and chest tightness in a child who’s allergic to pumpkin. Parents should supervise a child with allergies for related symptoms. Similar to other food allergies, raw is more likely to cause problems than cooked.
These tips should ensure a safe and fun Halloween experience. For more information on allergies and Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care, visit www.florida-allergy.com or call 1-877-425-5374.
About Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care
Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care has been in business for more than 38 years and has board certified physicians with extensive experience in treating both adults and children. FCAAC has 18 centers throughout South Florida, serving communities in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. The Centers specialize in the testing and treatment of adults and children who suffer from allergies, asthma and other disorders of the immune system. Among the most common allergies treated are allergic skin diseases, food, drug and pet allergies. Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care Research conducts clinical trials on new medications. The goal of the FCAAC team is to provide professional and quality care resulting in total patient satisfaction.