By Natasha Persaud
To prevent breathing trouble and skin reactions this Halloween, avoid these allergy and asthma triggers:
Excitement and anxiety from ghosts and goblins can sometimes trigger asthma symptoms, such as trouble breathing, in kids. Keep the fear factor low for your child by avoiding scary pranks and movies and the haunted house. Try fun alternatives, including singing silly songs, doing crafts and playing games.
Running from house to house to collect candy can also trigger asthma symptoms. If your child has asthma or exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), make sure he carries his emergency medicine, such as a quick-relief inhaler.
Halloween is a tricky time if your youngster or party guests have food allergies. Common allergens such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk and egg appear in candies, cakes, cookies, cupcakes and brownies. They may also be hidden ingredients in appetizers and entrees. Read product labels carefully before letting your child indulge in a dish. Teach your child to say “no thanks” if she isn’t sure what it contains. Be especially cautious of “fun size” candy, which may contain different ingredients than regular size packages.
If you’ll be retrieving old costumes from the attic, make sure to wash the dust from each piece to prevent sneezing and wheezing. Kids may also have skin reactions to accessories, such as jewelry or swords, when they are made from latex or nickel.
Children may also react to face paint and makeup. The week before Halloween, test the makeup you plan to use by putting a small amount on the arm of the child who will be wearing it. If a rash, redness, swelling, or other signs of irritation develop where the makeup was applied, that’s a sign of a possible allergy.
If you’re not sure what triggers your child’s allergies, see an allergist who can help pinpoint the problem.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
Sept 28, 2012 news release, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI)