February 9, 2023
How To Celebrate Valentine's Day With Allergies
Valentine's Day is a time to show your love and appreciation for those around you. But for those with food or environmental allergies, this holiday can be a source of stress due to the potential dangers posed by certain gifts and treats. This year, let's spread the love without risking anyone's health. We can do this by being aware of allergies and taking steps to ensure that everyone in our community is safe from an allergic reaction this Valentine's Day.
Tips for those without food allergies:
Be careful of the candy your child is handing out to classmates. It has been estimated that two students in each classroom have a food allergy. This means that even if your child doesn’t have food allergies, a classmate might. Many candies, including Snickers, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, contain one of the top nine food allergens.
Before you buy your child’s candy to pass out this year, check out this list of the best allergy-friendly candies.
Think about giving something other than candy. Candy is one of the most common treats during Valentine's Day, but it doesn't have to be the only thing you hand out! You could also pass out bouncy balls, erasers, pencils with notes attached, fidget toys—or even slime for a fun surprise.
Be wary of cross-contact. If your child is having a celebration in the classroom and you bring a homemade dish, make sure you’re aware of the food allergens a child in the classroom might have. If so, when making a dish, keep everything, including utensils, Tupperware, and baking dishes, separate from the allergen. Even a small trace of the allergen can cause a reaction.
Tips for parents with children with food allergies:
Talk with teachers. Before the celebration, get in touch with teachers and classmates to talk about your child's food allergies, ensuring that everyone will give them a safe space during this time.
If your child uses epinephrine, make sure that he or she has 2 doses of epinephrine with them at all times—one for use in the event of a reaction, and one to give someone else if needed. Also, ensure that the medication is not out of date. Epinephrine doesn't last indefinitely!
Review your child's emergency action plan with them. Rehearse what they should do when symptoms first appear, and make sure to include the card in their backpack or somewhere accessible on themselves. If you don’t already have one, you can create one here.
Pack extra treats and snacks for your kids. No child wants to feel left out on this holiday, especially when there is candy involved. You can either pack your child's lunch with a food-allergy friendly treat or, if the classroom is having a party, bring something that your child will be able to eat.
Practice saying "no" with your child. It’s likely that your child will have to decline the candy that comes around to their desks. Go over some phrases for politely declining food that they can use in the classroom:
"I can’t have that; I’m allergic."
"No, thank you."
Check the labels of all foods. Remind your child to always double-check the candy they receive, even if they’ve eaten it before. With the new year, there have been several changes to food labels recently. Remember that candies that are labeled "mini" or "fun-size," for example, might contain different ingredients or amounts of proteins than standard-sized products—so don't forget to check those as well!
Try to make the celebration about the fun, not the food. If you know your child is going to have an especially hard time at school, think of a fun activity they can look forward to! This could be a movie night, with friends over for snacks or games—whatever works for your family.
Other allergies to be aware of this Valentines Day:
Mold and dust allergies:
While flowers might be a sweet gesture, if the person you're giving them to is allergic, it could wreak havoc on their allergies. Flowers are known to hold mold, and their strong scent (even a pleasant scent) can trigger allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, or coughing)
Teddy bears and other stuffed animals are also known to accumulate allergens such as mold and dust, which can cause allergic rhinitis symptoms.
Did you know that you can be allergic to metal? Yep. Those who are allergic to metals such as nickel can experience symptoms of contact dermatitis when they come in contact with the metal. This is something to be cautious of if you’re thinking about giving your loved one a piece of jewelry, whether that be a necklace, bracelet, or ring.
There are plenty of other gift ideas that can still make this Valentine's Day memorable for you, even if you have allergies:
- A thoughtful card. Nothing says "I love you" quite like I love you. Put your affection into words by writing a note that you can share with the special person in your life.
- Spend time with your loved ones. Date nights, museums, and concerts are all great ways to spend Valentine's Day together!
- A homemade meal is a great way to show someone you care. If your partner has food allergies, though, be mindful of what ingredients are used in the dish so as not to cause an allergic reaction.
Remember that the best Valentine's Day gift is being considerate and inclusive of those who might have different needs than you. With these tips, you can help everyone around you have the best Valentines yet! If you or a loved one suffers from allergies, know that there are many treatment options available! At Aspire Allergy & Sinus, we offer a variety of different types of allergy treatments for both environmental and food allergies. If you're interested in learning more about how our solutions can help alleviate your symptoms, book an appointment online today!