Halloween brings spooky fun for kids across America, but children with allergies and asthma need to beware of the triggers in costumes, makeup and candy that can lead to symptoms. I hope you’ll consider a story on tips from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) on how to keep kids with allergies and asthma safe this Halloween.
- Keep an eye on “fun size” treats – Even if a full-sized treat is allergen free candy, don’t assume their “fun size” counterpart is safe too. These mini-candies can contain different ingredients or might made at a 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. Children with severe allergies or severe asthma also should wear medical alert identification bracelets or chains stating 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 such as bobbing for apples, or a haunted house. Set up trick or treat stations around the house, each of which offers a different allergen-free treat.
Visit AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org to take a Relief Self-Test for you or your child and learn more about allergies and asthma. 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 candy, costumes, makeup and decorations that may cause a reaction to spoil spooky fun.
* American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI)