Joyce Rabbat, M.D., a Loyola University Health System allergist, gives some tips for parents of children with food allergies for this Halloween.
"Food allergies can be tricky," Rabbat says. "Just because a child had a mild reaction, such as a rash, the first time doesn't mean it can't be more serious the next time."
Allergy-Free Halloween Tips
Rabbat is a pediatric allergy specialist at Loyola. Here is her general advice for parents of children with food allergies:
- Plan food-free Halloween activities, like costume contests and games.
- Communicate with the party host about your child’s allergy and provide a list of specific foods that may cause a reaction.
- Make sure all pans, dishes and serving utensils have been thoroughly cleaned if previously used with the allergen.
- When shopping, check product labels. If it says the food has been made on the same machine as with the allergen, stay away. If it is processed in the same plant as products with the allergen it’s probably OK.
- Wipe down all surfaces after preparing or eating allergenic foods.
More specifically for Halloween, Rabbat suggests:
- Don’t let your food-allergic child trick-or-treat alone, and make sure the child carries his or her self-injectable epinephrine.
- As soon as your child returns home, go through his or her candy and separate out all treats with allergens or those that could cause a reaction. When in doubt, get rid of the candy. It’s always a good idea to check your child’s candy after trick-or-treating, even if they don’t have an allergy.
- Be careful with “fun size” candy, as they may contain different ingredients than the regular-size package.
- After you, a friend or relative have eaten a product with an allergen, be sure to brush your teeth and wash your hands before hugging or kissing a child with an allergy.
Photo by Steve Jurvetson