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Avoid Halloween horrors with food allergy safety tips from the AAAAI

Avoid Halloween horrors with food allergy safety tips from the AAAAI

Posted: Tuesday, October 7, 2008 9:59 pm

MILWAUKEE – For the 3 million children with food allergies, Halloween spooks and scares are not limited to vampires and witches. Candies containing peanuts or chocolate can be just as frightening. To replace the fear with fun, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) has developed a checklist of safety tips for food-allergic children.

At Halloween, these children and their parents must be extra vigilant, according to Jacqueline A. Pongracic, MD, FAAAAI, vice chair of the AAAAI Adverse Reactions to Foods Committee.

“Candy products frequently include ingredients like peanuts, tree nuts, milk and egg – some of the most common food allergens in children,” Pongracic said. “Peanuts and tree nuts are common causes of severe, life-threatening reactions, and children and their parents need to be aware of this and check ingredients for all treats. This can be especially tricky with Halloween candies, which often do not have ingredients listed on their labels.”

According to the AAAAI, thousands of hospitalizations and up to 200 deaths are reported each year due to anaphylaxis from food allergies.

The complete checklist is available for download at www.aaaai.org. Among the tips:

Before Halloween, distribute safe snacks to neighbors and request that they be handed out to your child.
Instead of trick-or-treating, host a party that focuses on costumes, pumpkin carving, games and other Halloween-themed fun.
Remember that small candy bars passed out to trick-or-treaters may have different ingredients than their regular-size counterparts. Even if a certain candy is safe for your child, the ‘fun size’ version might not be.
Teach your child to politely refuse offers of home-baked goodies like cookies or cupcakes.
Consider participating in a charity trick-or-treat event to raise money for a good cause, rather than collect candy
An allergist/immunologist is the best-qualified medical professional to diagnose and treat food allergies and other allergic diseases. To locate an allergist/immunologist in your area, visit the AAAAI Physician Referral Directory.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology represents allergists, asthma specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic disease. Established in 1943, the AAAAI has nearly 6,500 members in the United States, Canada and 60 other countries.

Posted 10.7.08

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