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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL (October 3, 2018) – If you have a teenager in the house, long gone are the days when they started planning their Halloween costumes on the first day of school. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want to have a good time when Halloween rolls around. And that’s also true for teens who suffer from allergies and asthma.
“Teens usually know the drill when it comes to handling their food allergies, seasonal allergies or asthma,” says allergist Bradley Chipps, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “Teenagers also don’t want to miss out on the fun if there are parties to be had or events to attend. And there’s no reason a teen with allergies or asthma should have to miss anything. Providing your teen with common-sense guidelines regarding what they can eat and what they need to steer clear of means they can join the fun and be wheeze and sneeze-free.”
Here are four tips from ACAAI to help your teen with allergies or asthma take part in the Halloween fun.
- Stay smoke free – in all forms – Your teen with asthma knows they shouldn’t smoke cigarettes and shouldn’t be around second-hand smoke because smoking can trigger an asthma attack. Do they also know they should avoid smoke machines, bonfires and fireworks for the same reason? If your child decides to attend a party where there will be a bonfire, let them know to sit upwind from the fire to avoid the smoke. They should also carry their rescue inhaler in case they begin to wheeze or feel other asthma symptoms coming on.
- Scary sounds shouldn’t be from candy wrappers – Your teen is aware of what foods they’re allergic to, but a few reminders around Halloween can’t hurt. People enjoy the “fun-size” treats, but many aren’t labeled for allergens, and if there’s no label, it isn’t safe for your teen with food allergies. If they are headed to a party, suggest they bring their own safe treats, or bake something they know is allergy-friendly to bring. Encourage your teen to host a Halloween party. They can control the food served and know that all the treats are allergen-free.
- Help your teen get his “ghoul” on – They may not admit it, but teens like to wear costumes too. Unfortunately, some Halloween makeup contains ingredients that cause allergic reactions – especially for those with eczema or other allergic skin conditions. Do a little research and see if you can find high quality hypoallergenic makeup. Test any makeup your teen wants to use on a small patch of skin first to see if there is any reaction. If your child has a latex allergy, make sure they check for latex in any costume they plan on purchasing.
- Preparation is key to fun – Your teens may consider themselves “almost adult,” but they still need to be prepared for asthma and allergy emergencies. They should always carry needed medications including their rescue inhaler. If they have a food allergy they need two epinephrine auto-injectors and their cell phone in case an emergency arises. They should make sure any friends they regularly hang with are aware of their allergies or asthma so if they start to have a reaction, the friend can help.
If allergies or asthma are holding your teen back, it’s time to take control. See an allergist for expert care and relief. Use the ACAAI allergist locator to find an allergist in your area.