October is here and with that comes Halloween. However, for those who have food allergies, this time of year can be tricky as some Halloween candies contain ingredients that people are allergic to. This can be dangerous -- especially for children. In fact, food allergies affect 1 in 13 children under the age of 18.
Nuts are commonly found in Halloween candy, which is one of the “Big 8” ingredients that cause allergies. Some examples of Halloween candies with nuts are Snickers, Butterfingers, or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Something else important to know is that even if a particular candy does not actually contain nuts, a child can still be allergic to candy that is made in a plant that processes peanuts and tree nuts. Therefore it is important to know where the candy is made and if this type of information is available on the label. Common symptoms related to these types of food allergies are nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, hives, shortness of breath, wheezing, lightheadedness or even cause someone to go into anaphylactic shock.
Food allergies can also be caused by milk, eggs, wheat, and soy, which are also common, ingredients in candy. Often times, these food allergens are hidden ingredients in candy. For example, did you know that soy can be found in lollipops and gummy candies? The best way to confirm if there are hidden allergens in Halloween candy is to read the ingredient label on each candy package. Another thing to know is that the ingredients of bite-sized candy may differ from those ingredients used in the regular size of the same candy.
It’s important that parents prepare for Halloween by knowing before hand which candies have ingredients that can cause food allergies before Halloween trick-or-treating starts! Here are a few tips from Hudson Allergy to help parents prevent unforeseen allergic reactions during Halloween.
● Identify candy that you already know your child is allergic to before you start trick-or-treating.
● Establish ground rules and identify candy that your child shouldn’t eat before Halloween.
● Prepare a bag filled with allergy “safe treats” in advance and then swap them out for the candy that’s been collected that contains ingredients that your child is allergic to.
● Carry emergency medication such as an Epi Pen or Benadryl.
● Go trick-or-treating with your child.
● Educate your child’s friends and their families about your child’s allergy
● Try to avoid letting other children touch or carry candy that contains the allergens your child is allergic to.
So, before you start trick-or-treating, let your neighbors know that your child has food allergies and suggest allergy-free Halloween treats in advance to hand out to your child. Another good idea is to feed your child before going trick-or-treating so there is less temptation to "sneak a treat" while they are out and about. By taking the time to prepare, you can better protect your children and have a safe Halloween.
If you have any questions regarding candy allergies, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 212-729-1283.