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Don’t Let Allergies and Asthma Add to Halloween Fright
Posted on October 3, 2011
While vampires, 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.
Board certified allergist Dr. Kusum Sharma of AKANE Institute of Allergy, Asthma & Sleep Medicine, a member of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) suggests the following tips to keep little goblins with allergic conditions 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 be 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, cause a delayed itchy allergic reaction called contact dermatitis, or make existing atopic dermatitis (eczema) worse.
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.
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 flare up asthma.
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.
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.
“When people think of Halloween-associated allergies, they focus on candy and often overlook many other potential triggers,” said Dr. Kusum Sharma. “By planning ahead, you can ensure not only safe treats, but also safe costumes, make up, accessories, and decorations.” Visit www.AKANEinstitute.com to take a Relief Self-Test for you or your child and learn more about allergies and asthma.
Dr. Kusum Sharma is the Director, Allergy & Asthma Clinics at AKANE Institute of Allergy, Asthma & Sleep Medicine located in Scripps Ranch. She specializes in seasonal, food, drug, gluten, mold, cosmetic & skin allergy, asthma, sinus problems and hives.