Halloween no time for food allergy scares
by Dr. Doug Lotz
For the 6 million children with food allergies, haunted houses and spooky costumes aren’t the only scary parts of Halloween. An allergic reaction from sweet treats can be rather frightening for kids and their parents alike. That’s because food allergies are on the rise, and traditional Halloween candy often contains peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, egg, and soy. These are all common triggers of a serious reaction known medically as “anaphylaxis.”
The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology says symptoms can include: flushed skin, rash, swelling of the tongue, lips or throat, chest tightness, wheezing, shortness of breath, , nausea, abdominal cramps and dizziness. These reactions are often rapid in onset. If untreated, a severe anaphylaxis can result in death.
For many kids, ingesting or even touching treats containing certain foods can prompt a frantic trip to the emergency room. Fortunately, a lightweight and portable device called an epinephrine auto-injector can reverse the symptoms of anaphylaxis within minutes. Anyone with a diagnosed food allergy should always carry epinephrine.
It’s essential that parents and kids take a number of precautions to ensure a safe and happy Halloween when it comes to food allergies. Here are a few tips:
Safety is the key to a fun Halloween for all children, but most especially those with food allergies.
Dr. Doug Lotz is a physician with Family Allergy & Asthma in Louisville.
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