I always look forward to Halloween; crisp fall air and cooler temperatures, adorable kids in costumes, ghost stories and falling leaves. For children (and adults) with asthma and allergies, Halloween can be full of frightful triggers. Beware of ghouls and goblins as well as the five triggers listed below.
5 tips for an asthma friendly HalloweenHalloween candyPeanuts, dairy and chocolate can all be asthma triggers hidden in Halloween candy. Always go through your child’s candy bag and immediately remove any pieces they cannot have. A good backup plan is to have a stash of candy ready that is safe for your child to eat so you can quickly replace the pieces you removed.Consider the trick-or-treaters that come to your home that have special dietary needs by providing candy-free alternatives such as stickers, bubbles or glow sticks.CostumesChildren look forward to dressing up as their favorite superhero or princess all year. Costumes are often kept in boxes or piles for several months before they are put on retail shelves. This means they can contain dust mites or smell from the way they are packaged and stored.Wash all costumes before wearing them to remove any allergens and smells. Masks can irritate sensitive skin, block breathing, and make children feel like they are suffocating, so choose mask-free costumes when possible. Inexpensive costume makeup can also be an irritant so opt for higher-end theater makeup if available. Wash faces at the end of the nights with mild soap to gently remove all makeup and limit irritation.Fall allergens and bonfiresFall allergens, like ragweed, can cause itchy eyes and sneezes, while mold found under fallen leaves can cause asthma to flare. Burning leaves and particulate matter from bonfires and fire pits can irritate lungs, too.If you smell or see smoke skip that house and move on to the next one. Instead of running around the neighborhood, try a more asthma friendly Halloween trick-or-treating site such as a shopping mall or school that can offer a more controlled environment for easier breathing. If cold air bothers your child's asthma, participating in inside events where it's warm may help.Halloween and fall-themed decorWe all love the scents of fall. Pumpkin spice and cinnamon are two are of my favorites, but almost always trigger my asthma. Scented candles and room fresheners should be avoided, even when if they smell lovely. Choose battery operated candles to light up luminaries or jack-o-lanterns.To avoid a possible pumpkin allergy, decorate pumpkins instead of the carving them. Dry ice and fog machines may help set a spooky mood, but both can make breathing difficult even for those without asthma.Fear and excitementBeing scared silly can be a fun Halloween tradition, but strong emotions like fear or excitement is a top asthma trigger. Try to keep kids calm (I know, easier said than done!) by avoiding scary situations and ensure they take all of their asthma medications as prescribed.Oh, and keep your asthma meds on hand!Remember your child should always have their quick-relief/rescue medication with them at all times to address sudden symptoms. Do you have any tips or tricks to reduce or avoid asthma triggers at Halloween?
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