You can just about get the feeling that the annual holiday that include costuming, ghosts, and goblins are about to make their appearances for October 31st, aka Halloween trick or treating! As a family allergist my goal is to keep it safe as well as exciting for those children with food allergies at this time of the season.
What have we learned from previous year's Halloween celebration? It can be done safely and wisely with kids enjoying their special day (or night). One of the most important things to do for this holiday (as well as anytime) is to be a LABEL DETECTIVE! That's right as a parent you must read each and every label of packaged foods. Many snack foods and candy may contain peanuts, nuts, egg and milk (among the most common food allergens in kids).
Learn more about safe food allergen labeling and consumer information which will simplify whether a food contains one of the top 8 food allergens to protect consumers with food allergy@ http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/alrgqa.html.
So here is a partial list of ways I have found to enjoy a safe Halloween.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology have a great check- list of things to do for a safe Halloween at: http://www.aaaai.org/patients/elements/1008/08halloween_checklist.stm
Go shopping with your child and pre-purchase safe foods and snacks that do not contain suspect allergens before the "trick-or-treating" begins
Attend a Halloween party with your child to ensure that you can monitor to keep your child safe and resolve any food allergy concerns
Bake safe foods and treats at home and bring them with you to parties and during trick-or-treating on Halloween (if your child has gluten intolerance or celiac disease, this will be particularly important)
If your child is allergic to egg and egg products watch out for the appearance of "shiny" food products that may signal egg coating on bakery foods
Keep your child's emergency medication on hand, such as an epinephrine auto injector, if they have prescribed for potential use if a food induced allergic reaction should occur
Consider non food items such as stickers, crayons, in lieu of snacks, candy and food
Check outwww.foodallergy.org(The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network) for more food allergy safety tips to keep it safe and an enjoyable holiday for your family
Dr. Clifford W. Bassett is an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the Long Island College Hospital and on the faculty of NYU School of Medicine.He is the current vice chair for public education committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.No information in this blog is intended as medical advice to any reader or intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition.
Dr. Clifford Bassett is an adult and pediatric allergy specialist, and diplomate of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. He is the medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of NY. Bassett is a clinical assistant professor of medicine and on the teaching faculty of NYU School of Medicine and NYU Langone Medical Center, and faculty at Cornell University Medical College. Follow him on Twitter.