Children under construction: Food allergies in children


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – As Halloween season approaches, what should you do if your child has a food allergy?

This week on Kids Under Construction, journalist and parenting expert Donna Tetreault speaks with Tiffany Leon, a senior executive at Fare, a company that funds food allergy research and education.

Food allergy affects 85 million Americans today, with 1 in 13 children in the United States struggling with a food allergy.

“In the United States, nine foods account for 90% of food allergies: peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, milk, eggs, soy, wheat and sesame,” says Leon.

So how do you know exactly if your child has a food allergy and what to do if you think your child is suffering?

Leon says diagnosing food allergy can be tricky because everyone reacts uniquely to allergic triggers. Some notable physical symptoms can include hives, itchy mouth, congestion, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, and anaphylaxis. Leon says that if you notice any of these symptoms in your child, it’s best to see a doctor right away to properly diagnose and understand the cause.

As Halloween season approaches, how can you keep your kids safe while giving them treats?

The Teal Pumpkin Project is an initiative started by Fare that encourages households providing inedible treats during Halloween to place a teal pumpkin outside their home as a signal to the neighborhood. Inedible treats can include items such as bubbles, markers, crayons, and playing cards instead of candy. This allows the trick-or-treating experience to be more inclusive for children with food allergies.

“Unfortunately, many of those nine main foods are found in Halloween treats,” says Leon. “If you’re making treats with toddlers, just make sure the treats are about picking up the candy, not eating it on the ride. That way when you get home you can check the contents of their bag, ”says Leon.

Leon says reading food labels is also very critical, as the fun-sized candies found might be produced in a different facility than the full-size versions.

To watch the full conversation with ABC4’s Emily Clark, Tetreault, and Tiffany Leon, watch the video above.

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