Avoid an Allergy Nightmare on Halloween

// Meghan Walters on Wednesday October 25, 2017

Ghosts and ghouls may not be the scariest things this Halloween season. Researchers estimate that 1 in every 13 trick-or-treaters ringing your doorbell this year will have a food allergy. For some children, even the smallest interaction with an allergen can cause anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially deadly reaction. 

For parents of children with food allergies, trick-or-treating may feel like a nightmare. Prepare yourself and your community for a safe Halloween season by following these simple recommendations.  

  • Read the Labels – You may not think about it, but even a lollipop can contain allergens.  Be sure to read each label before allowing your child to eat the treat.  If the label is missing, like on homemade treats, then throw the item away.
  • Go Teal – Encourage your neighborhood to join the Teal Pumpkin Project™. Launched in 2014, the Teal Pumpkin Project raises awareness of food allergies, while promoting inclusion of all trick-or-treaters by identifying homes with allergy-safe treats and non-food alternatives. 
  • Alternative Treats – If you’re handing out goodies this Halloween, consider giving out glow sticks, stickers, bouncy balls or other toys.  These non-food treats will still be a hit with the kids, and they’re allergy-free.
  • Be Sure to Ask – Remind your kids that they should always ask before eating any of their treats. 
  • Make It a Game – By making safety precautions a game, kids will be engaged and have another layer of fun. Explain the rules of the game: no eating candy until you are home. At home, have a contest to sort candy into a “good to eat” pile and “bad to eat pile.” If they sort correctly, they can trade in the bad candy for a prize. Consider donating the “bad” pile to someone in need or a program like Soldiers’ Angels™, which sends Halloween candy to troops overseas.
  • Don’t Let Hunger Rule – Make sure you eat a good meal before you leave and carry allergen-safe snacks throughout the night. Full bellies are less likely to snack on unsafe food.

Share your tips and tricks for avoiding allergy emergencies with us on our Facebook page.

This material is for information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a contract. In an effort to keep your policy coverage affordable, the actual policy contains certain limitations and exclusion. Please refer to your insurance policy for the pertinent contract language and coverages. Some coverages and discounts are not available in all states. GuideOne welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.

Meghan Walters

Meghan Walters

Meghan Walters is a Corporate Communications and Marketing Intern at GuideOne Insurance.

In addition to working at GuideOne, Meghan is a student at Drake University who enjoys hiking, cooking, traveling and finding the best places to eat in the Des Moines area. 

Food Allergy Facts and Resources

// Katie Rynard on Friday May 19, 2017

Food allergies are a growing concern for families. As you plan summer events for your organization, it’s important to think carefully about the meals and snacks you’ll serve. Consider these statistics from Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE):

  • Food allergies affect up to 15 million Americans, including 1 in 13 children.
  • Eight major food groups are responsible for the majority of the serious allergic reactions. More than 170 foods have been reported to cause allergic reactions.
  • A food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room every 3 minutes.
  • U.S. families shell out nearly $25 billion annually to cover the costs of caring for children with food allergies.

To shed light on the seriousness and severity of the problem, FARE recognizes Food Allergy Awareness Week every May, and 2017 marks the 20th year. In honor of Food Allergy Awareness Week, we’ve rounded up a few resources to help you better protect the people served by your organization.

5 Ways to Manage Food Allergies at Events 

How to Recognize and Treat a Food Allergy Reaction 

Food Allergies Fact Sheet

How to Read a Label

Resources for Child Care Facilities

For more information on food allergies, visit foodallergy.org.  

This material is for information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a contract. In an effort to keep your policy coverage affordable, the actual policy contains certain limitations and exclusion. Please refer to your insurance policy for the pertinent contract language and coverages. Some coverages and discounts are not available in all states. GuideOne welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.

Katie Rynard

Katie Rynard

Katie Rynard is a Corporate Communications Specialist at GuideOne Insurance.

When she's not at work, she enjoys decorating, traveling, trying new restaurants and spending time with her husband, daughter and dachshund puppy.

How to Recognize and Treat a Food Allergy Reaction

// Sarah Arnold on Tuesday September 20, 2016

Food allergies affect a lot of people – especially children – and reactions can occur when you least expect them. Knowing problem foods, warning signs and appropriate responses can help you take control of a serious situation.

This material is for information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a contract. In an effort to keep your policy coverage affordable, the actual policy contains certain limitations and exclusion. Please refer to your insurance policy for the pertinent contract language and coverages. Some coverages and discounts are not available in all states. GuideOne welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.

Sarah Arnold

Sarah Arnold

Sarah Arnold is a Web Marketing Intern for GuideOne Insurance.

When she is not at work, Sarah enjoys horseback riding, painting, reading and spending time with her husband, ponies, cats and hound.

5 Ways to Manage Food Allergies at Events

// Katie Rynard on Tuesday April 12, 2016

Snack time is a fun part of Sunday school, Vacation Bible School and other church activities, but peanut butter, milk and other seemingly innocent eats can make snacking scary for kids with food allergies. One out of every 13 children has a food allergy, according to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), so it’s especially important to be mindful of what kids sip and munch on.

Here’s the good news: Being aware of food allergies—and how to act in emergency situations—makes it much easier to protect participants. These considerations will help ensure a safe, allergy-friendly environment for everyone:

  1. Create an action plan. Make sure your organization has legally compliant policies and procedures in place that provide direction on preventing and responding to allergic reactions. Not sure where to start? The National School Board Association has a comprehensive policy guide that also applies to church activities.
  2. Collect essential information. Ask parents to complete health and emergency contact forms so you can identify which participants have a food-allergy history. From there, you’ll want to know:
    • Trigger foods
    • Typical reactions
    • Treatments and medications
    • Healthcare providers’ contact info
  3. Train staff and volunteers. Make sure your team is fully aware of policies, procedures, allergic reaction warning signs and response strategies.
  4. Serve safe snacks. Because of the potential for allergies, avoid peanuts, tree nuts, dairy products and other foods that are most associated with allergic reactions in children. View a full list from FARE. And since cross-contact (scraping peanut butter off a knife and using that same knife to spread jelly on another sandwich, for instance) can create problems, here’s FARE’S fact sheet on how to avoid it.
  5. Keep tabs on medication. Some kids might need over-the-counter or prescribed antihistamines to relieve mild reactions and EpiPens for severe reactions. You’ll want all medications to be easily accessible. Review state laws for specifics on storage, access and administration of medication. 

Keeping these precautions in mind will go a long way in making snack time delicious, not dangerous.

This material is for information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice. You are encouraged to consult with your own attorney or other expert consultants for a professional opinion specific to your situation. This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a contract. In an effort to keep your policy coverage affordable, the actual policy contains certain limitations and exclusion. Please refer to your insurance policy for the pertinent contract language and coverages. Some coverages and discounts are not available in all states. GuideOne welcomes all applications, without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.

Katie Rynard

Katie Rynard

Katie Rynard is a Corporate Communications Specialist at GuideOne Insurance.

When she's not at work, she enjoys decorating, traveling, trying new restaurants and spending time with her husband, daughter and dachshund puppy.