Asthma Considerations for Trick-Or-Treating!
It’s Halloween time, which means all kinds of spooky, scary and—most importantly—fun stuff is headed your way, especially if you have children in your life. For kids with asthma, though, Halloween can cause some additional concerns. With a little bit of extra planning, though, kids with asthma should be able to have a happy, healthy and fun Halloween, and not have too much to worry about.
Tips for trick-or-treating with asthma
Carry your inhaler!
Ensure kids with asthma carry their inhalers with them while trick-or-treating, or that the adult accompanying them has one on hand, as well as a spacer or valved holding chamber if the child uses one.
Take a break if kids are having asthma symptoms—you can always go back out after a brief rest if things improve.
Look out for triggers!
Be aware of triggers in the neighborhood. A trend I noticed back when I was trick-or-treating was that people often had bonfires in their front yards (also a safety hazard!) and simply handed candy to kids as they came by. This can be trouble for kids with asthma who are sensitive to smoke.
Try new trick-or-treating spots
Visiting another neighborhood, or a smoke-free apartment building if you know someone who lives in one, can help kids with asthma maximize on the candy they can collect while minimizing on smoke and outdoor allergens.
Consider your allergies
If kids do suffer from fall allergies, using a non-drowsy antihistamine before heading outdoors, and showering upon returning home, might help decrease the impact of allergies on their Halloween fun.
Look for controlled environments
For kids who may be struggling with their asthma around Halloween, many shopping centers partake in celebrating the fun of the season. This is not great if you are just trying to go shopping, but if you have a kid who might need a more controlled environment, check out what your local shopping mall has to offer.
It's better together!
Finding another family with a kid with asthma to trick-or-treat with may also help kids feel like they are not the only ones who might have to change up their Halloween plans a bit if their asthma flares up.
Since food allergies are more common in kids with asthma, and asthma may make anaphylactic reactions worse, it’s important kids don’t eat any candy until they get home from trick-or-treating. For safety reasons, this is also important so an adult can check the candy first!
Send a few safe pieces of candy with your child if you think they simply won’t be able to resist the temptation to sneak a few treats—after all, Halloween is all about fun! If your child has one, ensure that epinephrine is carried along with their inhaler and that the adult(s) accompanying them know how to use it.
The Teal Pumpkin Project
If your child has food allergies, participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project can be a fun way to help raise awareness about food allergies, as well as promoting a fun, food-free experience at Halloween.
By painting your pumpkin teal, families know that you are providing alternative treats instead of or in addition to candy, which can be a good choice for all kids, but especially those with food allergies, diabetes (as some kids with diabetes may have to plan for candy, whereas others may simply have to calculate carbohydrates and take the right amount of insulin), other dietary concerns, or weight management. Plus, hi, what isn’t fun about glow sticks, stickers or those plastic spider rings—they add a little bit of variety to those overflowing bags of candy?
Halloween is meant to be fun, and fun-scary—not the kind of scary that involves breathing issues and emergency rooms. Planning ahead can help families of kids with asthma to enjoy the fun with less worry.
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