Why am I talking about the Teal Pumpkin Project? I mean, what does that have to do with asthma?
Well, a lot!
70% of people that have asthma also have allergies (and many of those have food allergies, not just seasonal allergies.)
In fact, I was just telling my co-workers how our family has to inspect ALL of the food we eat - family parties, work parties, church parties and even restaurants. EVERY time I eat at a restaurant, I have to ask the wait staff to make sure that my chicken breast is not cooked anywhere near seafood. I also have to remind them not to use the same utensils on my chicken that they are using on the seafood.
On Saturday, we went to lunch at a local bakery and sandwich shop and Son #2 ordered a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich. He knew that they make their own breads there, including some with nuts. So, he asked them to make sure there was no cross contamination. He told me that the cashier just looked at him with a blank look on her face.
So, Mama Bear came out, and I marched back up the counter and caught the eye of the manager and repeated our request. I let her know that I have an epinephrine auto injector, but would prefer not to use it.
She said that she would make sure his sandwich is not cross contaminated by a knife, cutting board, or anything else that was used to slice bread with nuts. (The repeated requests get really old after a while......some people are quick to understand and help, while others look at us like we really weird. Which we are - but that is beside the point. )
Sometimes, I will pull out my epinephrine auto injector and show them so they know I am serious!
Son #2 is in college now, but when he was younger, Halloween was a tough time because there are so many treats with tree nuts (cookies, candy, brownies, etc). Some kids are allergic to peanuts too, and that can make Trick or Treating a little scary! (Think costumes are scary? Try avoiding accidental exposure to a food allergen in Halloween candy!)
FARE (Food Allergy and Research & Education) has an entire website devoted to the Teal Pumpkin Project. What is that? The project is dedicated to:
"Raising awareness of food allergies and promoting inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season"
You can print out flyers, coloring pages, lawn signs - all sorts of Teal Pumpkin Project to let parents know that your house is a place where they can trick or treat for allergy safe treats.
Some families will only stock non-food treats. Other families will have 2 bowls - one with candy and one with non-food treats. FARE also has ideas for non-food treats (glow sticks, bubbles, mini slinkies, etc) Do whatever works for you!
FARE also lists allergy-friendly Halloween candy.
So if you are shopping for Halloween candy, consider picking up some allergy-friendly Halloween candy or non-food treats for kids with food allergies.
We want them to be safe and happy and have a fun Halloween too!