CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Halloween and trick or treating can be a scary time especially for the more than 3 million children living with a food allergy.
For parents of a child with a food allergy there is a lot to consider.
"All of these kids want to go out they want to have Halloween. That's one of their biggest holidays and it is potentially hazardous."
The holiday could be dangerous or even fatal if an food-allergic child eats a treat containing an allergen. For that reason, Dr. Thomas Harper with Charleston Allergy and Asthma says it's even more important to read labels and check to make sure that food item does not contain an ingredient your child is allergic to.
"I think parents should have an EpiPen injector with them that they have wipes to clean their hands off and not allow children to eat anything until they get home and their parents can scrutinize it," Harper said.
Some of the most common potentially dangerous ingredients include peanuts, wheat, milk, egg and soy, which are in many brands of licorice, fruit chews, chocolates and caramels. For a child who has an allergy, these types of treats can cause a variety of physical reactions like hives, swelling, vomiting, wheezing or worse.
"You can react to food by ingesting it and you can react to food by touching it," Harper said.
Different sizes of the same treat may contain different ingredient labels, he says.
Another thing for parents of a food-allergic child to know is traces of nuts and soy can also be found in some lollipops or gummy candies and other treats you would not expect.
"Nothing homemade should be ingested. Maybe they can get something other than a food item, like stickers or a toy," Harper says. Other alternatives to passing out candy are temporary tattoos, crayons, Halloween pencils, pens and erasers; plastic rings and bracelets or glow-in-the-dark trinkets.