THURSDAY, Oct. 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Wearing masks made of latex and taking hayrides are among the Halloween festivities that could be risky for children with asthma, according to the American Lung Association.
The association advises parents to be proactive about managing their child's asthma to ensure that Halloween is safe and enjoyable.
Some of the steps they recommend parents take include:
- Be prepared. Hayrides and haunted houses are exciting adventures that can lead to asthma flare-ups. Make sure children carry their quick-relief inhaler with them at all times so they can use it at the first sign of worsening symptoms. Children who've had breathing problems on Halloween in the past may benefit from medication before they go trick-or-treating, the experts noted in a news release. Talk to your child's doctor about options that could help.
- Keep it clean. Any costume that has been packed away for a while should be washed before a child with asthma wears it to prevent exposure to dust, mold and dust mites that can trigger asthma symptoms.
- Rethink the mask. Latex is a known asthma trigger, but it's used to make many costume masks. Before buying a mask, check its label. Keep in mind that masks also make it more difficult to breathe normally. Cutting a mask in half or skipping one entirely may be the best option for kids with asthma.
- Check the forecast. The air quality on Halloween night can make a difference for kids with asthma. Wearing a scarf is also a good idea since cold air can trigger an asthma attack.
- Be cautious. Teach kids to not enter anyone's home while they are out trick-or-treating. Aside from being a common-sense safety precaution, this can also keep them healthy. The homes of strangers could have pets or cigarette smoke, which could trigger an asthma attack. And, for kids with food allergies along with asthma, be sure to check your little ones' candy haul for treats that could spell trouble.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more Halloween health and safety tips.
SOURCE: American Lung Association, news release, Oct. 23, 2014
-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
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