Halloween Scares for Children with Allergies & Asthma
Parents of children with food allergies are aware of the dangers lurking in Halloween treats, but little attention is paid to asthma, which can also be frightening for asthmatic children participating in Halloween festivities.
“If your child suffers from asthma and/or allergies, be aware and prepared for potential triggers to ensure a safe and fun time for all during the holidays,” says Clifford W. Bassett, MD, FAAAAI, chair of the Public Education Committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
The Academy offers these tips to help children with allergies & asthma safely enjoy the holiday and stay out of hospital emergency rooms:
Beware of Costumes
Mold, dust, and latex products can be major allergy and asthma triggers. Don’t recycle costumes from the attic or basement, and wash new costumes before wearing. Halloween masks can trap dust and mold, so keep your child mask free.
Don’t Enter Homes
Keep your child on the doorstep of homes while trick-or-treating. Asthma and allergy triggers in the houses of others may include cigarette smoke and pet dander.
Watch for Weather Changes
Cold air and humidity can make breathing difficult for children with asthma. Make certain your child is dressed appropriately for the conditions.
Under the Weather
If your child is not feeling well, hold off on trick-or-treating. Cold and flu symptoms can severely aggravate asthma conditions.
Lurking Food Allergies
Halloween can be troublesome for those with food allergies. If this includes your child, read every food label and be a “label detective” so that you know what the ingredients are before your child touches or eats the product. This also means avoiding homemade treats.
When trick-or-treating, be prepared for an emergency. For food allergies, carry an epinephrine pen. For asthma, keep a rescue inhaler nearby.
Source: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, www.aaaai.org.
This article was originally published in Coping® with Allergies & Asthma magazine, September/October 2010.