Wearing masks made of latex and taking hayrides are among the Halloween festivities that could be risky for children with asthma, according to the American Lung Association.
The association advises parents to be proactive about managing their child's asthma to ensure that Halloween is safe and enjoyable.
Here is a list of steps parents can take to help kids with asthma this Halloween:
- Be prepared. Hayrides and haunted houses are exciting adventures that can lead to asthma flare-ups. Make sure children carry their quick-relief inhaler with them at all times so they can use it at the first sign of worsening symptoms. Children who've had breathing problems on Halloween in the past may benefit from medication before they go trick-or-treating. Talk to your child's doctor about options that could help.
- Keep it clean. Any costume that has been packed away for awhile should be washed before a child with asthma wears it to prevent exposure to dust, mold and dust mites that can trigger asthma symptoms.
- Rethink the mask. Latex is a known asthma trigger, but it's used to make many costume masks. Before buying a mask, check its label. Keep in mind that masks also make it more difficult to breathe normally. Cutting a mask in half or skipping one entirely may be the best option for kids with asthma.
- Check the forecast. The air quality on Halloween night can make a difference for kids with asthma. Wearing a scarf is also a good idea since cold air can trigger an asthma attack.
- Be cautious. Teach kids to not enter anyone's home while they are out trick-or-treating. Aside from being a common-sense safety precaution, this can also keep them healthy. The homes of strangers could have pets or cigarette smoke, which could trigger an asthma attack. And, for kids with food allergies along with asthma, be sure to check your little ones' candy haul for treats that could spell trouble.
- Avoid unknown goodies. Unless there's a way to guarantee that the ingredients are safe, tell your children to politely refuse any homemade treats people give out on Halloween.
- Buy better quality makeup. This helps you avoid preservatives that are often used in cheaper types of makeup and can cause an allergic reaction. Test makeup on a small area of skin before Halloween and check for rashes or other skin reactions.
- Stay out of fog. Look out for real and manmade fog, which can trigger asthma symptoms.
- Watch out for pumpkins. Avoid dusty, moldy pumpkins that could trigger an allergic reaction. Buy pumpkins at a store and wash them before you carve and decorate them.