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Parents of kids with allergies and asthma don’t need to be afraid of letting their children enjoy the holiday. But it is important to take some precautions to make sure that kids avoid potentially serious reactions to the allergy or asthma triggers that sometimes lurk in candy, costumes, and makeup.
To protect your favorite little ghost or goblin, follow these tips from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology:
- Be cautious about candy. Don’t let kids who have food allergies eat any treat before you’ve checked its package—or the company website—for a list of all ingredients. Should you have any doubt about the ingredients, throw the candy away. Also, teach your child to politely refuse any home-baked treats, such as cookies or cupcakes.
- Don’t be tricked by small treats. Be aware that small candy bars may have different ingredients from their regular-size counterparts. Consequently, even if a certain candy is safe for your child, its “fun-size” version might not be.
- Take away temptation. Feed your trick-or-treater before leaving home so that he or she will be less tempted to gobble up possibly problematic candy.
When your child returns home with loot in hand, collect any treats with troublesome ingredients and replace them with allergen-free treats. Or arrange a candy swap with siblings and friends where your child can trade harmful treats for safe ones.
- Make your home the haunted house. You might bypass trick-or-treating altogether and invite your child’s friends to a Halloween party—where you can control the food that’s served.
[Image by KB35]
- Send your youngster out with more than a candy bag. If he or she has asthma, pack a quick-relief inhaler. Cold weather or mold spores hidden in piles of leaves might trigger an attack. Likewise, if your youngster has a life-threatening allergy, pack injectable epinephrine in case of a severe reaction. Any child with severe asthma or allergies should wear a medical alert identification bracelet or chain—even if he or she objects that it’s not part of a Halloween costume. This safeguard can speed treatment in the event of an emergency.
- Choose safe costumes. Masks can interfere with breathing, which means kids with asthma should either wear a half mask or no mask at all. Masks and costumes may also contain latex and other allergy triggers, so be sure to read their labels if your child has allergies. Also keep in mind that makeup and hair dyes may harbor irritants that can bring on an asthma attack.
- Don’t let your child trick-or-treat alone. Depending on your child’s age, either accompany your child or see that he or she heads out with a group of friends or a responsible adult. If you’re not present, be sure that whoever is with your child knows about your youngster’s allergies or asthma and how to respond to a severe reaction or attack.
Do you have allergy- or asthma-prone children? What are your tips and suggestions for a safe and healthy Halloween?