Child & Adolescent Development: Overview
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News
Another Study Finds COVID Usually Mild in KidsParents' Age Key to Whether Kids Get Vaccinated Against COVID, Study FindsDoes Parents' Nagging Kids About Screen Time Even Matter?Which Kids With COVID Will Get Very Sick?Add Kids to COVID Vaccine Trials, Pediatricians' Group SaysToo Many Kids Still Get Antipsychotics They Don't NeedIs the Pandemic Harming Kids' Mental Health?Eczema More Common Among Black, Hispanic KidsTelemedicine Is Keeping Kids' Asthma Care on Track: StudyKids With Food Allergies Can Become Targets for BulliesHelp Young Athletes Keep Their Competitive Edge During PandemicAlmost 1 in 5 Parents Are 'Vaccine Hesitant,' Study FindsFor Rural Youth, Mental Health Care Can Be Tough to FindAre Healthy Kids Getting Too Many Heart Tests?Big Spike Seen in COVID Cases Among KidsAsymptomatic Kids With COVID-19 May Also Carry Less VirusLockdowns Can Widen Kids' Waistlines – Here's How to Curb ThatSocial Media 'Kid Influencers' Are Promoting Junk FoodsPoverty Might Raise Black Kids' Health Risks as Early as Age 5It's Tough to Change the Minds of 'Vaccine-Hesitant' Parents, Study FindsStudy Probes Links in Asthma, Food Sensitivity and Irritable Bowel SyndromeYour Guide to a Safe and Happy HalloweenKids' Hospitalizations Accompany Rising Unemployment Rates: StudyMusic Classes Strike a Chord in Kids' Brain Development: StudyPediatricians' Group Tackles Racism in Health CarePandemic Silver Lining: Steep Drop in Kids' FracturesPlan Ahead to Keep Halloween Safe for Kids With Asthma, AllergiesEarly School Sports Reduce ADHD Symptoms Years Later for GirlsDo Minority Kids Face More Danger During Surgeries?1 in 3 U.S. Parents Won't Get Flu Shots for Their Kids: SurveyKids Much Less Prone to Coronavirus Infection Than Adults: StudyImmune System Clues to Why COVID Is Easier on KidsFDA Warns of Danger From 'Benadryl Challenge,' Asks TikTok to Remove VideosAfter COVID-19 Exposure, When Can Young Athletes Resume Play?Kids Who Need Steroids Face Risk of Diabetes, Other IllsMom-to-Be's Pot Use Linked With Higher Odds for Kids' Mental WoesKids Often Hit Hard by Death of Beloved Pet, Study FindsHolidays Can Be a Fright for Kids With Food AllergiesHow to Help Ensure Your Students Get Enough SleepAs Schools Reopen, Many Students, Staff Live With High-Risk Family MemberBlack Kids at Higher Odds for ADHDProbiotic Might Help Ease Children's EczemaMore Than 1 in 3 U.S. Pediatricians Dismiss Vaccine-Refusing FamiliesDeath From COVID-19 Very Rare for Americans 21 and Under: ReportAre School Lunches a Ticket to Healthy Eating?Are At-Home 'Learning Pods' the Right Fit for Your Family?Kids at 2 Utah Day Cares Easily Spread COVID to FamiliesChildren Use Both Sides of the Brain to Understand LanguagePlaying Football at Young Age Doesn't Slow Concussion Recovery in CollegeYouth Vaping Down, But Still Popular: CDC
Related Topics

ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Childhood Mental Disorders and Illnesses
Child Development & Parenting: Infants (0-2)
Child Development & Parenting: Early (3-7)

Holidays Can Be a Fright for Kids With Food Allergies

HealthDay News
by By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Sep 21st 2020

new article illustration

MONDAY, Sept. 21, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Parents of kids with food allergies probably won't be surprised to hear that Halloween is an especially risky time for their youngsters.

A new study found that serious allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) triggered by peanuts jumped 85% when kids were trick or treating. Serious reactions triggered by an unknown tree nut or peanut exposure rose by 70% on Halloween compared to the rest of the year.

And the risk is similar on Easter -- when kids are hopping around collecting chocolate eggs and other candy. Compared to other times, anaphylaxis from unknown nut exposure spiked 70% at Easter and there was a 60% increase in peanut-triggered anaphylaxis.

Fortunately, other holidays -- including Christmas, Chinese New Year, Diwali and Eid al-Adha -- didn't seem to lead to an increase in serious reactions in kids with food allergies.

"The most common cause of anaphylaxis is food. When I was working in the emergency department, I was told [anaphylaxis] was higher on Halloween," said study co-author Dr. Moshe Ben-Shoshan, an associate professor of allergy and immunology at Montreal Children's Hospital and McGill University in Canada. "With this study, we wanted to establish whether there actually was an increased risk of anaphylaxis on holidays compared to the rest of the year."

Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. It's treated with a shot of epinephrine (Epi-Pen, Auvi-Q).

Symptoms of anaphylaxis may include:

  • Itching,
  • Hives,
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue or throat,
  • Difficulty breathing or wheezing,
  • Dizziness, possibly fainting,
  • Stomach pain,
  • Vomiting or diarrhea,
  • Uneasy feeling.

The researchers reviewed almost 1,400 cases of anaphylaxis in four Canadian provinces between 2011 and 2020. Nearly two-thirds of the kids (median age: 5.4 years) were boys.

Besides uncovering strikingly higher rates of these serious allergic reactions from unknown nuts, peanuts or tree nuts on Halloween and Easter, the study found that anaphylaxis triggered by the same nuts was more likely in kids who were 6 years or older than in younger children.

While Halloween and Easter may look different this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ben-Shoshan said parents need to stay extra vigilant on these holidays to make sure their kids with allergies stay safe.

But why just Halloween and Easter?

The researchers can't know for sure from the study data, but these tend to be holidays where children are given candy. And, in the case of Halloween, it often comes from people who don't know them (or about their allergies) at all.

"Vigilance is important. Have the epinephrine pen nearby and supervise your child. The risk was higher in kids 6 years and above -- don't think that an 8-year-old will always be responsible. Be aware that anaphylaxis can happen," Ben-Shoshan said.

While the study was done in Canada, he said the findings probably also apply in other countries that celebrate Halloween and Easter, including the United States.

Dr. Maryann Buetti-Sgouros, head of pediatrics at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y., said they mirror what she sees in practice.

On Halloween and Easter, she said, "People give children candy that is purchased and they might not be as aware of the potential for cross-contamination. You're less likely to give away candy on the other holidays they studied."

Plus, on other holidays, food is often prepared by family members who are aware of the allergies, Buetti-Sgouros said.

She suggested asking anyone who brings food to holiday meals to share a list of the ingredients. She said allergens can hide in many foods, and manufacturers sometimes change the way they make a food. That means parents have to check labels every time they buy a food.

That makes Halloween a particular challenge, she said. The snack-size treats often lack allergy information.

"Be alert for any signs of food allergy," Buetti-Sgouros said. "The symptoms could be very subtle, like an itchy lip or a tickle in the throat. Sudden vomiting should be considered a sign of food allergy. There should always be an epinephrine pen nearby."

Both experts mentioned that on Halloween kids with food allergies can look for homes with teal-colored pumpkins on their doorstep. This signifies a household that will have safe treats for kids with food allergies.

The findings were published Sept. 21 in CMAJ.

More information

Learn more about anaphylaxis caused by food allergies from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

328 W. Claiborne St.
P.O. Box 964
Alabama 36460
Tel: (251)575-4203

powered by centersite dot net