October 25, 2008

Halloween Scary If You Have Food Allergies

Halloween can be a scary time for the parents of children with food allergies, a U.S. expert warns.

Dr. Amal Assa'ad of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center advises parents to inspect their children's Halloween candy carefully.

"Usually, parents are more careful about watching what their kids eat around Halloween time, but sometimes kids who have allergy will get into their siblings' candy that hasn't been sorted out yet," Assa'ad says in a statement. "Every year, I see a few children who suffer from allergic reactions around Halloween time."

When it is not possible to know whether the food contains traces of peanuts or other allergens, it is best to take a cautious approach and avoid those foods.

Assa'ad says the most common food allergies are from milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat. These so-called "big eight" account for over 90 percent of U.S. food allergies.

For those with an allergy, exposure can cause dizziness, stomach cramps, swelling in the throat or tongue or even anaphylaxis -- a severe reaction that can lead to death.