Don't let allergies and asthma add to Halloween fright!
While witches, ghosts, and ghouls haunt us all on Halloween, children with food allergies, allergic rhinitis, and asthma also need to beware of the triggers that lurk in the holiday's candy, costumes, makeup, and decorations. Read on for tips, courtesy of the experts at AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org, on how to avoid reactions that spoil spooky fun.
A half-mask is a good breathable choice. Mask (sold as part of a monster mask collection, $5.99 per dozen) and toy-filled jack-o-lanterns (24 for $9.99), both from www.orientaltrading.com.
Keep an eye on "fun size" treats. Even if the full-sized treat is allergen free, don't assume its "fun size" counterpart is safe too. These mini candies can contain different ingredients or might be made in a different facility where allergens are present.
Unmask allergens in costumes, makeup, and decorations. Masks and costumes may contain latex and other common allergens, so be sure to read their labels. Makeup, hair dyes, and decorations can include irritants that trigger asthma. Ingredients in these products can also cause a delayed itchy allergic reaction called contact dermatitis, or make existing atopic dermatitis (eczema) worse. If your child is eczema-prone, use hypoallergenic makeup or steer clear of makeup altogether.
Be sure your child totes more than a candy bag. If your goblin has asthma or a life-threatening allergy, don't start trick-or-treating without packing emergency medicines such as quick-relief inhalers or injectable epinephrine in case of a severe reaction. Also, children with severe allergies or severe asthma should wear medical alert identification bracelets or chains that state their diagnosis.
Scare asthma away. Masks can interfere with breathing, so children with asthma should opt for a half mask or no mask at all. Also keep in mind that cold weather, running from house to house for candy, and allergens such as mold spores hiding in piles of leaves can cause asthma symptoms to flare up.
Control consumption. Feed your goblins before they go trick-or-treating so they are less tempted to snack on potentially problematic candy. When you're back home, trade allergen-free candy you've purchased for the candy they've collected. Or have allergic kids do a candy swap with their non-allergic friends.
Make your home the haunted house. Consider forgoing trick-or-treating altogether and invite your child's friends for a party, where you can control the food and offer fun activities like bobbing for apples. Set up trick-or-treat stations around the house, each of which offers a different allergen-free treat.
An allergist can help you develop a customized plan to keep Halloween safe. To find an allergist and learn more about allergies and asthma, visit www.AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org.