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Don't be tricked by your treats!

Posted on October 23, 2017

The two most notable features of October are the autumn colors and the seasonal treats. Between Halloween candy, pumpkin lattes, caramel apples, and homemade stews, October is a tasty month. The chilly weather is a good excuse to warm your body and soul with these delicacies. If you have a food allergy, however, this could be a month of worry and necessary caution.

According to the Center for Disease Control, food allergies currently affect 4-6% of children in the United States. Hospitalizations related to food allergies are on the rise. Unfortunately, this is something with which we need to concern ourselves this season.

A food allergy is when your body’s immune system reacts negatively to a particular food on a recurring basis. This reaction can range from uncomfortable to deadly. In a season when people are baking and sharing all sorts of goodies without familiarity of any allergies, everyone needs to be more aware.

If you or your child lives with a food allergy, here are some ways to prepare for the season of food-sharing:

  • Review your action plan with caregivers, teachers, and family members.
  • Make sure everyone involved in your child’s regular routine is aware of dangerous foods.
  • Make sure all necessary parties are familiar with epinephrine administration in case of emergency.
  • Be sure to read labels and expiration dates on all medication. Make sure it is safe and up to date.
  • If you are taking your child out for trick-or-treating or a similar event, be sure to bring an emergency kit with you.
  • For a quick memory hook, remember: “Every label, Every time, Epi everywhere.”
  • Realize that the most common trigger foods for allergies are peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, fish, sesame seeds, shellfish, wheat, and soy.
  • Be familiar with the ingredients in any food items you are providing and warn anyone partaking of potential triggers.
  • Join the Teal Pumpkin Project.

What is the Teal Pumpkin Project, exactly? The Teal Pumpkin Project is based on the belief that all children should be able to trick or treat on Halloween.  A mother in Tennessee started the project when she painted a pumpkin teal, the color representing food allergy awareness. The Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) loved this homespun idea and began promoting it nationally.

The project advocates offering non-food treats as an alternative to candy. These items can include small toys, glow sticks, or other safe goodies. To indicate to trick-or-treaters that they are offering such treats, participants place a teal pumpkin in front of their home with a free printable sign from the FARE website, explaining what it means. The number of participants in the Teal Pumpkin Project is growing, including households in all 50 states and 14 countries last year.

Join the movement in making Halloween safer for children everywhere. Find out how at www.foodallergy.org/teal-pumpkin-project.

If you or your child has a food allergy, or if you suspect one of you might, consult the experts at Grand Rapids Allergy. They can provide you with insights on the source of your allergy and more effective ways to lessen your risk of allergic reactions. At Grand Rapids Allergy, quality of life is a priority. Call Grand Rapids Allergy for a quality boost today!

Grand Rapids Allergy has served the west Michigan area for over 40 years. We’re working to treat allergies at the root level with personalized treatment plans based on your unique allergy profile.

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