Halloween Trappings Can Trigger Asthma,
-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
SATURDAY, Oct. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Halloween candy may contain
some obvious allergens, but there are many more unexpected allergy
and asthma triggers that can pose a threat to trick-or-treaters,
including dusty costumes, fog machines and makeup, according to
experts from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
"When people think of Halloween-associated allergies, they focus
on candy and often overlook many other potential triggers," said
Dr. Myron Zitt, former ACAAI president in a news release. "By
planning ahead, you can ensure not only safe treats, but also safe
costumes, makeup, accessories and decorations."
The ACAAI advised parents to be on the lookout for six potential
allergy and asthma triggers they may not be expecting,
- Gelatin. Although it's a less common trigger, research
published in the
Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology shows gummy bears
and other candies may contain this potential allergen. Parents can
have their child tested for specific allergies and develop a food
allergy treatment plan. They may also want to have some non-candy
treats, such as stickers or small toys, on hand to swap for
- Nickel. Costume details and accessories, such as belts,
tiaras and swords may contain nickel -- one of the most common
causes of allergic contact dermatitis, which can make skin
- Dust mites. Old costumes packed away in attics or closets may
be filled with dust mites, which trigger asthma and allergies.
Parents should either buy or make new costumes or wash old ones
before kids put them on.
- Makeup. Some types of face and body makeup may include
preservatives that may cause allergic reactions. Buying higher
quality theater makeup can help avoid this trigger. Also be sure to
test the makeup on a small patch of skin before applying it over a
larger area of skin at least a few days before Halloween.
- Fog. Real fog or fog machines can trigger asthma in some
- Pumpkins. Allergies to pumpkins are rare, but they can
develop suddenly -- especially when they are moldy or dusty. As a
result, pumpkins purchased at a grocery or discount stores are less
likely to trigger an allergy.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides
more information on
asthma in children.
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