11 October 2016

6 ways to an allergy-free Halloween

A little preparation can ensure that children with asthma and allergies stay safe during Halloween.


Halloween can be really scary for kids with asthma and allergies – and for their parents – unless they take precautions, an allergist advises.

"Keep certain common sense tips in mind as you prepare for the holiday," said Bryan Martin, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

"A little preparation can ensure your little ones don't suffer from allergic reactions or asthma attacks," Martin said in an ACAAI news release.

6 Tips to follow

1. Masks can be scary. For kids with asthma, try to choose a costume that doesn't require a mask. If a child insists on one, it should not be tight-fitting or obstruct breathing.

2. Halloween makeup sometimes causes allergic reactions. Use only high-quality, hypoallergenic makeup, and test it on a small patch of skin in advance to see if it triggers a reaction.

3. Skip the trick-or-treating. Parents of kids with food allergies might want to consider alternatives such as a scavenger hunt, scary movie or Halloween party with safe treats.

4. Be prepared for emergencies. If trick-or-treating is part of the plan, don't forget to carry a charged cellphone, emergency epinephrine and a bag of safe treats to nibble along the way. Children with asthma should take their medications and carry their inhaler.

5. Check out the treats. Before kids eat anything they get on their Halloween rounds, parents should throw out any candy that has no label or appears unsafe. Instruct children with allergies on which treats are not safe for them to eat. Parents can drop off allergy-free goodies with neighbours in advance so young kids can trick-or-treat safely.

6. Consider offering non-food treats. A growing number of families are trying to raise allergy awareness by placing a teal-painted pumpkin outside that lets trick-or-treaters with food allergies know you have non-food treats for them.

Read more:

Food allergies linked to higher risk of asthma and hay fever

5 common hidden food allergens

How to manage your child's allergies

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Allergy expert

Dr Morris is the Principal Allergist at the Cape Town and Johannesburg Allergy Clinics with postgraduate diplomas in Allergology, Dermatology, Paediatrics and Family Medicine dealing with both adult and childhood allergies. obesity and diabetes societies and runs a trial centre for new drugs.

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