Halloween and Allergies/Asthma
Do your kids enjoy a good scare on Halloween? Do they also suffer from allergies or asthma? It’s not the best idea to combine Halloween scares with allergy and asthma flares. Finding the right balance of fun and scary on Halloween for kids with allergies or asthma can be a challenge. Of course you want your kids to have a good time on Halloween. But you don’t want them to worry they’ll be exposed to something that could cause their symptoms to flare. Wheezing, itching, or sneezing is no fun, no matter the time of year. Below are five tips from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology for having fun while steering clear of allergy symptoms:
- Candy is dandy unless – For many kids, candy is where it’s at on Halloween. But many of the “fun-size” treats aren’t labeled for allergens, and if there’s no label, it isn’t safe (or fun) for your child with food allergies. Your children should feel comfortable saying “no thank you” to treats they know are unsafe or are unsure of whether they are safe for them. You can drop off safe treats for your child with neighbors or at their school. Make sure your child with food allergies is carrying both epinephrine auto injectors in case of an accidental exposure along the trick or treat route. And plan to bring all treats home to check before they indulge.
- Don’t let makeup be a fright – While makeup can certainly enhance a Halloween costume, it can also irritate some skin and cause an allergic reaction. If your child suffers from eczema or another allergic skin condition, consider using a high-quality hypoallergenic makeup instead. If your child plans to use makeup as part of their costume, make sure to test it on a small patch of skin in advance to see if there is a reaction.
- Make it a smoke-free Halloween – Your child or teen with asthma knows they shouldn’t smoke cigarettes and shouldn’t be around second-hand smoke because smoking can trigger an asthma attack. Do they also know they should avoid smoke machines, bonfires, and fireworks for the same reason? If your child is attending a party where there will be a bonfire, let them know to sit upwind from the fire to avoid the smoke. They should also carry their rescue inhaler in case they begin to wheeze or feel other asthma symptoms coming on.
- Make the scare about witches, ghouls and goblins – Even though kids love sweets, it can be fun (and spooky) to take the emphasis off food. Round up activities that don’t involve food including pumpkin carving, scary movies, ghost stories, haunted houses and treasure hunts. Pinterest and other websites are full of great ideas to help you scare your kids while making sure they have fun. The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages awareness of food allergies by placing teal pumpkins in front of your house to let trick-or-treaters know you have safe, non-food treats. A teal pumpkin and non-food treats are a friendly way to help kids with food allergies join in the trick-or-treating fun.
- Fall allergies can factor into the fright – Halloween happens in the fall, so anyone who suffers from ragweed or other allergies, needs to be prepared. Depending on where you live, Halloween can mean cold temperatures. A sudden change in weather can trigger an asthma attack. Consider an extra layer under or over the costume for your little ones with asthma. In addition, dry, windy weather is not kind to people with allergies, as the wind spreads pollen and mold. Keep an eye on pollen forecasts to see if there’s an abundance of pollen in the air. Consider taking allergy medications before you head out for the night.
If you think you or your child might have allergies or asthma, schedule an appointment with Dr. Berlin for proper testing. A board certified allergist can help you take control and live your best life.