06:45am Friday 15 December 2017

Halloween scares for children with allergies and asthma

“If your child suffers from asthma and/or allergies, be aware and prepared for potential triggers to ensure a safe and fun time for all during the holidays,” according to Clifford W. Bassett, MD, FAAAAI, Chair of the Public Education Committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).

The AAAAI offers these tips to help children with asthma and allergies safely enjoy the holiday and stay out of hospital emergency rooms:

  • Beware of costumes. Mold, dust and latex products can be major asthma triggers. Don’t recycle costumes from the attic or basement, and wash new costumes before wearing. Halloween masks can trap dust and mold, so keep your child mask-free.
  • Don’t enter homes. Keep your child on the door step of homes while trick-or-treating. Asthma triggers in the houses of others may include cigarette smoke or pet dander.
  • Watch for weather changes. Cold air and humidity can make breathing difficult for children with asthma. Make certain your child is dressed appropriately for the conditions.
  • Under the weather. If you child is feeling poorly, hold off on trick-or-treating. Cold and flu symptoms can severely aggravate asthma conditions.
  • Lurking food allergies. Halloween can be troublesome for those with food allergies. If this includes your child, read every food label and be a “label detective,” so you know what the ingredients are before your child touches or eats the product. This means avoiding homemade treats.
  • Be prepared. When trick-or-treating, be prepared for an emergency. For food allergies, carry an epinephrine pen. For asthma, keep a rescue inhaler close at hand.

The AAAAI also offers a comprehensive library of online asthma and allergy resources for parents at www.aaaai.org.

The AAAAI (www.aaaai.org) represents allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic and immunologic diseases. Established in 1943, the AAAAI has nearly 6,500 members in the United States, Canada and 60 other countries. To locate an allergist/immunologist, visit the AAAAI Physician Referral Directory at www.aaaai.org/physref.

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