This Halloween may be especially challenging for parents of children with asthma and allergies, as they also have to guard against COVID-19.
"Every year we send out tips on how to keep your kids with allergies and asthma symptom-free as they celebrate one of their favorite holidays," said allergist Dr. J. Allen Meadows, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).
"This year, along with our usual guidance, we want to point people to the [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and their recommendations for avoiding COVID-19," Meadows said in a college news release.
As you plan for the holiday, consider these tips from the ACAAI:
If kids are attending events, outdoor activities are always best. Children must wear a mask and maintain social distance. There are Halloween-themed cloth masks that help protect against COVID-19, so kids should be encouraged to choose a costume that works with a protective mask.
An ordinary costume mask is not a substitute for a mask meant to protect against the coronavirus. The CDC says a costume mask should not be worn over a cloth mask if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe.
Try to have Halloween activities around your home, where you can control the environment and the allergens. For example, you can make sure all treats are allergen-free if your child suffers from a food allergy.
Ideas for at-home fun include pumpkin carving, having a costume parade over Zoom, or a scavenger hunt in the house or yard with family members.
If your child does go trick-or-treating, the CDC recommends a one-way approach where individual goodie bags are lined up for families to grab at the end of a driveway or edge of a yard.
If you're preparing goodie bags, make sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing the bags. If your child goes trick-or-treating, check their bag for any candy that might contain food allergens.
If your child with allergies or asthma is attending a Halloween event or going one-way trick or treating, make sure they have their supplies with them.
Children with asthma should carry their inhaler because kicking up moldy leaves can cause asthma symptoms. If a child has a food allergy, they shouldn't leave home without their epinephrine auto injector, in case they sneak a treat that contains a possible allergen.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on holiday celebrations during the pandemic.