KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) Someone's hospitalized with a food allergy reaction every three minutes in the U.S. Many of those who suffer are children, and Halloween candy and treats are quick to trigger reactions.
The Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee, or FACET, has offered some advice to help your family survive the season. Experts remind planning ahead is the best way to know your kids aren't getting something they shouldn't have.
1. Bring the party to your house. Create a controlled environment by inviting your children's friends over. Set up trick-or-treat stations with allergen-free treats.
2. Give "fun size" candy a second look. Read labels to make sure they don't come in contact with ingredients like peanuts that can trigger reactions. Many small candies have different ingredients than their full-size counterparts.
3. Check labels on costumes, masks and face paint for ingredients like latex or soy if that's a concern for your kids.
4. Host a candy-swap to let your children swap candy with others for allergen-free treats.
5. Make sure your kids are well prepared with allergen meds or EpiPens if allergic reactions are a concern.
FACET's also encouraging allergy-aware homes to paint a pumpkin teal as a signal that there are allergy-free options available to be passed out.
According to a CDC study released earlier this year, food allergies increased an estimated 50 percent between 1997 and 2011, although it is unclear as to why, and every three minutes a food allergy reaction sends someone to an emergency room at a local hospital, resulting in more than 200,000 ER visits annually.