The Halloween season is filled with school parties, trick-or-treating and other food-centric celebrations that put children with food allergies at a higher risk of exposure to allergens than usual. But with the proper planning, parents of children with food allergies can ensure this festive season is safe, as well as fun.
A Few Tips from Atlanta Allergy & Asthma Food Allergy Experts
- Reach out to teachers and other parents involved in classroom parties or social gatherings so they are aware of your child’s allergies and know what to do in case of an allergic reaction.
- Accompany your child when he or she goes trick-or-treating or if he or she is old enough to go without an adult have him or her go with friends who know about the food allergy.
- Be sure to talk with your child about the importance of avoiding anything that may contain what they are allergic to and if they are unsure — don't eat it.
- Talk with your child about the best ways to communicate their allergy risk to teachers, peers, etc.
- Be sure you carry injectable epinephrine at all times – especially during this time of year.
- Carry safe snacks with you while trick or treating.
- Discard any food/candy brought home that does not come with a label. Remember, “When in doubt, throw it out!”
- Avoid the special “fun-sized” Halloween candies. These can contain different ingredients than their regular-sized counterparts and do not typically list full ingredient and allergy warnings on the wrapping.
- Prepare a stash of allergen-safe treats and non-food items like stickers, pencils and small toys for your child to exchange any unsafe candy collected at school or while trick-or-treating.
- Give neighbors safe Halloween treats in advance to hand out to your food allergic child.
Atlanta Allergy & Asthma joins Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) in encouraging food allergy families to start a new tradition: Paint a pumpkin teal and place it on your porch as a sign to other families managing food allergies that you have non-food treats available at your home. Your teal pumpkin is also a way to raise awareness in your neighborhood about food allergies.
Look for our teal pumpkins and a list of Halloween safety tips at all 18 Atlanta Allergy & Asthma locations. Halloween can be a tricky time of year. Keep the fun without the fear! Take the Pledge!
Fast Food Allergy Facts
- Food Allergies affect approximately 15 million Americans – including 6 million children.
- Food allergies affect 1 in 13 children under the age of 18. That is two students in every classroom.
- Eight foods account for 90 percent of all food allergy reactions: Peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish.There is no cure for food allergies. Strict avoidance is the only way to prevent an allergic reaction.
- The most important aspect in the treatment of food allergy is an accurate diagnosis.
- Food allergy is not easy to diagnose and at times requires more than one type of test for an accurate diagnosis.
- Always carry two epinephrine auto-injectors at all times. Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that comes on quickly and has the potential to become life-threatening.
- 911 must be called with every anaphylactic reaction.