Halloween with allergies? No sweat!

A witch holding a platter of candy apples

Trick-or-treat can get tricky with allergies…

It’s that time of year again… ghouls, goblins and allergies! Halloween is the time of year where your allergens can pop up anywhere, especially as you get older and you are taking on more responsibility with your allergies and perhaps branching off from the traditional ‘trick-or-treating’ evening with your parents. Halloween can be quite nerve-racking, but don’t let your allergies ruin your night. Halloween can still be super fun and safe no matter what you do.

Follow some of these useful tips:

  1. If you still like to go trick-or-treating in high school, that’s completely cool! But make it a game! Trick-or-treat like you usually do with your friends and don’t give much thought about what kind of treats are being dropped into your bag. Just have fun! Once you get home, dump your whole bag of treats on the floor and see how many of the treats you can identify as key allergens. Put your allergen treats to one side while putting the treats that you can have in another pile. Read the ingredients of the leftover treats that you aren’t sure of and put them in the appropriate pile. Maybe ask some of your friends if you can trade some of your not so allergy-friendly treats with some of their allergy-friendly treats. Or you can always donate the treats containing your allergens.

While some of you want to appreciate the last years you have trick-or-treating, others may be spending their Halloween at a party. If it’s your first time away from your parents on Halloween night, or even if you’ve been attending Halloween parties for a couple of years, these tips can apply to you.

  1. When you get to the party, head straight for the treats table! You want to see if there are any ‘allergen’ foods at the party. If there are, perhaps ask the host if they can put those particular treats away. Don’t be nervous or scared about it. You want to feel secure; you don’t want to spend your night worrying about people eating your allergens and then touching everything around you. Another option is to call the host before the party and ask if they can keep those allergens away altogether.
  2. Never use the same glass twice. If you’re drinking any type of beverage from a cup, always ensure that once you put your cup down, you grab a new drink. You don’t want to accidentally drink from the same cup as someone who may have had your allergen earlier in the day. It’s easy for people to mix up drinks at a party when people are dancing and socializing. You want to ensure that there is no chance of cross-contamination.
  3. Bring some of your own goodies! If you’re nervous about the food at the party, you can always bring some of your allergen-friendly Halloween treats from home.
  4. Make sure close friends around you know how to use your epinephrine auto-injector (e.g. EpiPen© or Allerject™). Since you’re not with your parents that night, it’s important that you have some friends that know how to use it just in case.
  5. Keep your epinephrine close. You can even make it a part of your costume! Girls, you can easily carry it in your purse or perhaps incorporate it into your costume as a garter. Boys, pockets are key or incorporate it into a costume on your belt.

No matter what you decide to do on Halloween, it’s important to stay safe.  Allergies shouldn’t limit your activities, but at the same time, you always want to ensure that you’re being responsible and safe.

Happy Halloween!

Happy New Year!! With allergies

Hi! My name is Giulia, and I’m allergic to peanuts, nuts, fish, and seafood.

Happy New Year! It’s the time of year when people start afresh and make resolutions. Throughout the world, there are people who have decided to lose weight, eat differently, or just become a little more pleasant to the people around them. I take a little time to think about my experiences with allergies and how I can improve my allergy management practices in the upcoming year.

Whether you’ve had a severe allergic reaction or no encounters with your allergen, you too can take a couple of minutes to reflect. Here are some things to think about:

1)      How effective were my allergy management strategies?

A notebook opened to a blank page, with vegetables and a cutting board around it

What’s new on your menu for this year?

Did I react to anything this year? Did I have any close calls? Take time to think about any allergic reactions or other risky situations you experienced this year. Did I always read food labels and talk to restaurant staff before eating? Did I always carry auto-injectors?  Think about these things – and changes you can make to avoid allergic reactions and manage risky situations in the future.

2)      When do my auto-injectors expire?

Take a few minutes to check the expiration date of your auto-injectors. Write them down on a calendar, and remind yourself to contact a doctor or pharmacist when needed.

3)      What’s new on the menu?

Cook a new recipe without your allergens, or try a new allergy-safe activity. Trying something new is the perfect way to start a new year – especially when you can share the experience with friends and family members!

Thinking about these simple things will help you to prepare for the year ahead! It’s important to make sure that you’re safe, as well as happy, this year.

What will you be doing to make this year a safe one?