October 29th, 2010
01:59 PM ET
For some kids, ghosts and goblins aren't the biggest fear on Halloween: It's having a serious allergic reaction.
The candy that gets passed out on Halloween may contain common allergens such as nuts or peanuts, or it could be processed in a facility that also manufactures those foods. Depending on how allergic your child is, that could mean trouble.
Dr. Clifford Bassett, medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York, offers these tips for families with food-allergic trick-or-treaters:
• Make sure that your child has an epinephrine auto-injector or antihistamine and knows how to dial 911 if an emergency occurs
• Have dinner before trick-or-treating, so your child will be less tempted to snack on foods of unknown composition
• Go trick-or-treating with your child
• Teach kids how to say "no" to candy that they can't eat
• Children with severe allergies should eat only labeled foods that are verified not to contain the offending foods - even jelly beans may contain peanut flower, Bassett said
Dr. Sean Cahill at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine adds:
• Consider buying nut-free candy to give to neighbors before Halloween, so that you can take your child there on the big night
• When your child comes home from trick-or-treating, separate the candy with potential allergens from that which you know to be safe
• Wash your hands and brush your teeth after eating nutty candies yourself if you are going to come in close contact with a child who is severely allergic.
And if you're an adult expecting kids to come to your door, consider giving out non-food items, such as stickers and small toys.
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