Tell those responsible about your child’s allergies for class parties and for door-to-door visits Halloween night.
Read labels closely on all candy, including candy corn and hard candies. A different size could mean different ingredients; fun sized candy manufacturing practices or even third party repackaging can differ from your ‘safe’ regular sized treats. Always heed caution to any labels that state manufacturing practices risks such as, “may contain peanuts” or any other allergen.
Inspect all candy once you are home. Avoid eating any while going door-to-door to reduce a risk for a reaction.
Carry all of your meds, including an epipen in case your child still sneaks a treat while going door-to-door.
Keep others informed about emergency contacts and your food allergy action plan with teachers, school staff and school nurse if your child attends a classroom party.
|Rainbow Loom bracelets are among the many food free treats to share for social events
Trade ‘risky’ candies. Keep a stash of your own safe goodies. My daughter used to swap candy that did not have labels or contained nuts with our non-food allergic children and friends on Halloween night. But, that could either sweeten or sour the deal.
Reach out to organizations like http://www.treats4ourtroops.org/ and donate extra candies and allergy friendly treats. Check for local dentists who may swap candy for cash or toys.
Educate those around you about the symptoms of anaphylaxis and how to use the epipen as a first line of defense against a severe food reaction.
Allow yourself and your child to have fun at parties. It is okay to nicely say ‘no Thank you’, bring or request allergen-free treats. You’d be surprised at how accommodating neighbors, teachers and others can be during social events. Then go home raid your own kitchen for goodies if you must.
Toy with activities and trinkets that are food free. Carving pumpkins, a treasure hunt; or trade loom bracelets; give stickers, tattoos, pens, personal cards …any social interaction is good for your health and for your food allergic child’s health.
|Create activities that can promote inclusion for everyone, like pumpkin carving or a treasure hunt without food items
This many people have food allergies? That was the first question my 8-year-old daughter asked as we walked up to the check in line at the 2013 FARE Walk (Food Allergy Research and Education) Baltimore held in Ellicott City, Md. A crowd of folks supporting others with food allergies was just the lift she needed. Lately she had been showing a bit of anxiety about her food allergies. It’s been six years since her first diagnosis, but she still has her moments. And frankly, so do I.
I knew walking with her family and 500 others who all share the same food allergy concerns may help cheer her up. Her spirit lifted as we met others like her on the 2.3 mile path. We chatted with parents and kids alike who shared stories of when they first discovered a food reaction and their common allergies like peanuts. The walk was a breeze on a gorgeous Fall day. And the yummy food samples kept us going too.
The walk was a short distance to help raise funds for research; it is still a long road to help others understand the seriousness of food allergies. It can just take a simple bite of any of the common allergens – nuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, egg, milk, wheat and soy – to cause a life threatening reaction, known as anaphylaxis. There are other allergies not as common too, such as certain fruits. The only way to save a life from a food reaction is with an epipen (epinephrine). The only way to avoid a reaction is to avoid eating any foods with the allergen. But, the hope for a cure is not far distant. Much progress is underway through clinical trials and research.
You can support others with food allergies or meet others like you with food allergies during the upcoming FARE Walk in Rockville, Md on Sunday, October 5. The walk helped cheer up my daughter. She knows she is not alone, many do understand and we found some new products to add to the lunch box. Not bad for a walk in the park.