October 2013

Ghosts and goblins aren’t the only scary things your children might encounter this Halloween. For parents of kids with food allergies, Halloween treats—from candy to cookies—can be frightening too.

Common allergens such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk and egg are often ingredients in Halloween treats. Some kids may experience a rash or red, itchy skin, vomiting, a stuffy, itchy nose, or diarrhea or stomach cramps if they eat a food to which they are allergic. For children who are severely allergic, a single bite of these foods may cause a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.

An anaphylactic reaction typically affects more than one part of the body, and can happen very quickly. Signs of anaphylaxis include:
• A lump in the throat, hoarseness or throat tightness
• Trouble breathing, wheezing or chest tightness
• A tingling feeling in the hands, feet, lips or scalp

Other symptoms of anaphylaxis include dizziness, confusion and shock. If you or your child experience any of these symptoms, use your autoinjectable epinephrine and call 911 immediately.

A Safe Halloween
Having food allergies doesn’t mean having to skip all Halloween fun. Follow these tips for a safe holiday:
• Plan food-free Halloween activities. Fun alternatives include costume contests, games and pumpkin carving.
• Don’t let your food-allergic child trick-or-treat alone, and always make sure they carry their autoinjectable epinephrine with them.
• Verify that adults or friends with your child understand his or her food allergies and what to do in an emergency.
• Teach your child how to politely say no to food that may not be safe, especially homemade items such as cookies and cupcakes.

Most Importantly
Be cautious of “fun size” candy, which may contain different ingredients than regular size packages.

If you or your child live in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Hampton Roads, and you have questions about food allergies, please call us at any of our 3 locations listed below. Our food allergy doctors are here to help you.

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About our food allergy doctors
Our food allergy doctors specialize in food allergy testing to identify and treat child food allergies and adult food allergies and more for patients in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Hampton Roads.