How to Enjoy Halloween with Food Allergies

Kids trick-or-treating.

October 21, 2019

Halloween can be a tricky day for children with food allergies. Marissa Love, MD, an allergist at The University of Kansas Health System, shares her tips for enjoying holiday treats without an allergic reaction.

Allergist Marissa Love, MD, talks about food allergies and Halloween

Marissa Love, MD: Read labels. That's always important. Sometimes these foods are hidden in the ingredient list, but not necessarily labeled on the front of the box or labeled on the front of maybe a food item. All of the nuts can potentially be a major trigger for allergies. Some of those Halloween candies also have egg in them. Milk is a big allergy for some folks, and so they have to even avoid the milk in the chocolate.

The biggest concern is ingestion. So usually that's in the form of actually eating the food or perhaps they've touched a surface that had peanut on it and then they got it inside their mouth or got it inside their eyes. If it's just sitting in the room and they haven't touched it, then that's not an issue, or they haven't ingested it, that's not going to be an issue. So those are the two routes of exposure. Ingestion by mouth or actual touching it and it gets on a mucosal surface, like under the eyelid, inside the mouth.

Anyone that has a food allergy, you need to worry about potential exposure and potentially having a reaction after that exposure. So I tell all my food allergy patients that they need to carry their injectable epinephrin with them. Sometimes that's in the form of an EpiPen or an AUVI-Q or even the generic EpiPens that are out. We always ask our patients to carry two at a time in case they need to use a second dose if that first dose doesn't work right away. So that's the first step. And then, of course, you want to make sure you're avoiding the foods that potentially cause food allergies.

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