Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Enjoy Halloween despite allergies, asthma

Pumpkin patches may be dusty and
moldy, which are allergy triggers.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) has released a list of six triggers that may help parents of asthmatic or allergic children breathe a little easier when Halloween comes around.

The organization warns that the dangers go beyond nut-filled candy and that allergy and asthma triggers can hide in unexpected places.

They recommend planning ahead, being aware of the hidden triggers and taking the necessary precautions to keep Halloween reaction-free.

  • Beware of hidden triggers in treats – it’s not only nuts in chocolates you should be concerned about; many candies contain gelatin, another potential trigger. The experts suggest getting your child tested for allergies, developing a food allergy treatment plan, and swapping sweets for some non-candy treats such as stickers and small toys to keep the fun-level high.
  • Reuse costumes? Yes, but be careful of allergens - Halloween costumes that have been stored for a long time can harbor dust mites, which in turn often trigger asthma and allergies. Wash them in hot water first.
  • Forgo the fog – Fog machines may be fun, but it has been shown to trigger asthma in some individuals.
  • Check the costume details – Many costume accessories are made out of nickel, one of the most common contact allergy causing materials that can make skin itchy and spoil the fun.
  • Master the makeup – If your child is prone to allergies, the experts suggest opting for better-quality theatre makeup rather than the cheap stuff that is readily available, since the latter can contain preservatives that may cause allergic reactions. You can test the makeup on a small area of skin at least a week in advance of Halloween, since reactions can be slow to appear.
  • Be careful about pumpkins – The allergy experts warn that pumpkin allergies can pop up suddenly and that many pumpkin patches are moldy and dusty, which are allergy triggers for some people.
For more information on asthma and allergies in children, or to find an allergist near you, visit www.AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org.

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