I’m excited to say that I had the privilege of “attending” a Webinar with Professional Family Expert, Jo Frost (widely known as Super Nanny!) which was hosted by Mylan, the makers of Epi-pen. I have to say I’m humbled to have been invited, and I thank Lisa of No Nuts Moms Group for the recommendation to be invited. It was a great experience that I’m thankful to have been a part.
So what did Jo Frost have to say about food allergies? Well, she knows the subject quite well because she herself has life-threatening food allergies. Jo shared her story of finding out at the age of 4 that she was allergic to shellfish after eating just a few bites of paella that her mother had made. Not too long after that she found out she was allergic to peanuts while eating them at a Christmas party. After a short intro from Dr. Martha White from the Institute for Asthma & Allergy, Jo shared with us her tips for enjoying a safe Halloween while managing food allergies.
Jo’s main point was that those suffering from food allergies cannot live in isolation-it just isn’t healthy or possible! With her beautiful British accent (gotta love it!), this is what she told us about how to NOT let our kids be isolated at Halloween, but still remain safe in the midst of allergen-laden treats.
1. Communicate Early and Broadly-Simply be an advocate and inform party hosts, family, or friends of your child’s allergy. One tip she gave was to send a note back with an RSVP so that the hosts were aware of the allergy. Don’t expect to be completely accommodated, but hopefully the host will take measures to keep all food allergic kids safe. Also, remind the host and your child of the anaphylaxis action plan in the event of an allergic reaction.
2. Trick-or-Treating Tips-You may be worried about taking your FA child Trick-or-Treating. Jo recommends the following actions to make it a fun and safe outing….
-Reinforce the importance of not eating treats until they are checked by you
-Feed your child a meal before Trick-or-Treating so they aren’t hungry and tempted to eat candy
-Avoid triggers, but ALWAYS carry your epinephrine auto-injector
-Have your child wear a Medical ID bracelet
-Put together safe treats at home that are ready to swap for unsafe treats when you get home from Trick-or-Treating. This is similar to the Halloween traditions of Lisa’s family at No Nuts Moms Group.
3. Move Beyond Candy-Halloween is a candy-rich holiday, but kids also enjoy non-food treats. Jo suggested doing activities that don’t involve food such as, pumpkin painting, mask making, face painting, or spooky scavenger hunts. Non-food treats include balloons, glow sticks, pens, pencils, stickers, bouncy balls, or temporary tattoos.
Within her talk of safe Halloween practices, Jo kept reinforcing three things….
–Repetition is key.…Be diligent in reinforcing your anaphylaxis action plan and educate your child with repetition about their allergies.
–Strictly avoid allergens….We all know this is key to staying safe, but accidents can happen, so be diligent!
–CARRY YOUR EPI-PEN…She said this multiple times and for good reason. It is soooo important to always have two epinephrine auto-injectors with you at ALL TIMES. Epinephrine is the only line of defense against a life-threatening allergic reaction. And, if you have to use it, seek medical care immediately.
Courtesy of Mylan, this tip sheet is great for planning a safe Halloween…check it out when you get a chance.
Here’s a link to the PDF so you can actually read it! Jo Frost Halloween Webinar Tip Sheet
There ya have it! You CAN have a safe, fun-filled Halloween without isolating yourself and your child even while dealing with food allergies. Just be diligent in your plan, carry your Epi-pen, and have safe treats waiting at home.
One more thing that Jo mentioned….enter a picture of you or your child with an Epi-pen and Mylan will donate $25 for each picture up to $25,000 to leading allergy non-profit groups. Let’s help Mylan celebrate their 25th Anniversary! Go to www.25YearsofEpiPen.com to participate!
It’s your turn…..let us know how you’re going to spend Halloween night of Trick-or-Treating. What precautions will you take to keep your food allergic child safe?? Leave a comment below!