June 12, 2018
How to Survive Food and Seasonal Allergies This Easter
From chocolate eggs to green grass, allergies are bound to be present at Easter. Here are some alternative ideas for safely celebrating Easter with your friends and family. From the Easter egg hunt to the Easter basket, we want to make sure your child has a happy and healthy Easter celebration!
3 common Easter activities made allergy-friendly:
Try a new way of decorating eggs:
When looking for ways to decorate eggs, there are plenty of alternative items to use in the place of eggs. You can use plastic eggs, wooden eggs, ceramic eggs, or really anything egg-shaped that isn’t an egg!
For those with an egg allergy, being around real eggs can be a scary thought. Instead, try these fun ways to decorate your plastic or wooden eggs. Also, if you or your kids have reactions to the dye used to decorate eggs, there are plenty of fun ways to decorate your eggs, whether it be with:
- Dyeing or painting eggs
- Paper Mache
- Coloring with markers
- Glitter glue
- Using washi tape or stickers
By making this a fun family activity, you can turn the focus from not being able to participate in the celebration with real eggs to an inclusive arts and crafts party for your child!
Fill eggs and Easter baskets with allergy-friendly items:
Much like how we celebrate Halloween with the Teal Pumpkin Project, you want to avoid putting edible items in your goodie bags. Pinterest provides so many unique ideas that you can do with your family to make creative Easter baskets. So instead of filling eggs and baskets with items like chocolate or candy, embrace the surprise factor and fill them with one of these fun items that your child will enjoy!
Non-food treats for your child's Easter basket
- Fidget Toys
- Coloring books and markers
- Stuffed animals
- Temporary tattoos
Ideas for older children:
- Hair accessories
- Sports gear
Just because your child has a food allergy doesn’t mean that you have to avoid including food in their baskets. It just means you need a little extra preparation! We’ve listed our favorite allergy-friendly treats below. You can also bake your child's favorite goodies and add them to their Easter basket for an extra special treat!
Allergy-friendly Easter egg hunt
While the Easter holiday may be surrounded by potential food allergies, there are also environmental allergens to watch out for.
Try a fun indoor hunt instead. Hide eggs the night before or the next morning, and continue with your usual hunt! This is great because no matter the weather or what you put in your eggs, there are no worries!
How to safely celebrate Easter with food allergies:
While most of this holiday is surrounded by chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, and every other candy and sweet treat imaginable, it can be hard to resist. Food allergies have been a growing epidemic in the United States over the past few years. As those without food allergies, we often struggle to understand how those who suffer from food allergies feel during the holiday celebrations. It can be very difficult for them and their families, who are trying to make sure that everyone feels included. Some parents even opt to skip certain traditions so that their child can participate in everything that the other children are doing. Inclusion is a must, so if you know someone with allergies, ask how they would like you to handle them around food—especially during this time of year.
What are the top nine food allergens?
Almost 20 million people in the United States have food allergies. However, there are nine allergens that make up almost 90% of food allergic reactions. These foods include:
- Tree nuts
Many of the fun traditions and foods that are associated with the Easter holiday are on this list, meaning that people won’t be able to participate. However, there may be a slight feeling of exclusion when everyone around you is indulging in their favorite Easter treats, but you don’t get to participate because of your food allergies. If you or someone you know has a food allergy, consider making them an extra-special Easter treat that is allergy-free!
Preparing for food allergies during Easter:
If you can’t read it, don’t eat it. Manufacturers can change ingredients at any time without having to notify the public. Remember that candies that are smaller might have different ingredients or amounts of the protein, which could cause an allergic reaction. This is especially true for candies that look safe or that your child might have eaten before, but it’s always better to be on the safe side.
For homemade goods, it’s best to talk with the family member beforehand to explain your child's allergy and what they can and cannot eat. It might be best for you to have your own allergy-free treats on hand, so that way you know they're safe.
It can be hard to say no to foods, especially when those who make them insist that they’re safe. Unfortunately, even the smallest traces of the allergen can cause a reaction, this is especially true with cross contact.
Always bring two epinephrine injectors. This is why it is so important to always have two on hand. You never know if your child could come into contact with a small trace of the allergen from their basket or another child.
Talk to your child beforehand about their allergies. Make sure they know how to read the label, and if they’re given something, they always ask, "Is this safe for me to eat?" or "Does this contain..." If the answer is yes or I don’t know, it’s also important to teach your child how to politely decline by saying, "No, thank you."
Some of our favorite allergy-friendly Easter treats that are free of the top 9 allergens include:
There are brands that are very proactive in avoiding the use of common food allergens in their products. These are just a few great companies that make chocolate and other candies that are free of the eight major allergens.
Amanda’s Own Confections: Stock up on all of the allergy-free chocolate bunnies this Easter!
Surf Sweets Jelly Beans: These jelly beans are free from the top eight allergens (excluding sesame) and are great to include in your child's Easter baskets!
Dum-Dums: Many people don’t know that dum-dums are free of the top common allergens! They’re even made in a facility free of the top allergens as well.
Peeps: an Easter classic! This mallow bunny is free of the top eight allergens, but do be aware that some are made in facilities that process milk as well. Double-check the label to see if there is "may contain milk" on the packaging.
How to safely celebrate Easter with environmental allergies:
If you’re going somewhere to celebrate, they might have a small petting zoo with baby chicks or bunnies! It’s important to be wary of your child's egg allergy; sometimes coming into contact with a chick can cause a significant reaction in those with egg allergies.
Environmental Allergies: Symptoms and Prevention
Many Easter activities are spent outside in the wonderful spring weather. Make sure you take an antihistamine before your outdoor activities so you can breathe clearly while you enjoy your day, and don’t forget to wash your face and hands when you come back inside so you aren’t carrying those allergens around with you.
While it may be nice outdoors, those spring allergens are still blowing around out there! All of the tree allergens, including severe allergens such as oak, birch, and mulberry trees, currently have high pollen rates. Being outside can bring on allergic rhinitis symptoms such as:
These symptoms can cause some serious issues and take you out of the Easter holiday fun. To prevent your spring allergy symptoms, try these tips:
Keep your Easter egg hunt inside. As we mentioned before, having your celebration inside might be best for everyone. No ants in your eggs, and no constant sneezing!
Keep windows and doors closed. Even a small breeze can bring forth a large amount of pollen, especially now that we’re in the peak of oak season. Keeping windows and doors closed will keep your home allergy-free!
Shower after coming in from outdoors. You might not be able to see it, but all that sticky pollen gets stuck on our clothes, hair, and everywhere else. To prevent post-outing sneezing, it's best to take a shower when you come back inside. This allows you to wash off all that sticky pollen that collects on your skin and clothes, so you can have a more enjoyable day inside!
Wipe off pets paws and coats. Pets can bring in outdoor allergens as well. It can be especially bad during oak season when those green prawns are all over the ground, sticking to your pets paws and coats. Thankfully, it’s a simple task to wipe off their paws and coats when they come inside.
Take your shoes off after coming in. If we haven’t already made it clear, there is a lot of pollen outside. Don’t continue to track it into your home. Take your shoes off when coming inside to keep pollen outside where it belongs.
Environmental Allergy treatments for a safe Easter celebration:
Celebrating holidays with a food or environmental allergy can be painful, inconvenient, and even life-threatening. That’s not how you want to feel around your friends and family, especially during a time of celebration. Put your best foot forward and treat your allergies at their root cause.
Long-term allergy treatments
At Aspire Allergy & Sinus, we are dedicated to finding solutions that work for you! Our long-term treatments are designed for our patients to find real, long-lasting allergy relief. We offer a variety of treatments based on what your needs are:
Allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy, For those who want to stay on track with their allergy treatment, an injection can be a great way to do so. Through a weekly or biweekly injection, your body will gradually become immune to the allergen, creating long-term benefits like fewer allergic reactions and symptoms.
Allergy drops are also known as sublingual immunotherapy. Allergy drops are a convenient, easy, and effective way to help control your allergies. Patients love that they can take advantage of allergy drops anywhere and at any time with only 3 drops a day—there's nothing that can compare when it comes to flexibility! And the cherry on top? No shots or pain!
ExACT Immunoplasty. Are you looking for a quick and effective allergy treatment? Look no further. Our ExACT treatment is just three shots over the span of eight weeks, making it our fastest treatment yet! Clinical studies have shown that our ExACT treatment has the same effectiveness as three years worth of allergy shots. This is a great option for those who are looking to ditch their allergies fast.
Food allergy treatments for a safe Easter celebration:
Oral immunotherapy: we work to identify an accurate threshold level for allergen ingestion. This means that you will be exposed to small amounts of a food to which you are allergic, and an increase in tolerance should be observed. This increase in tolerance is gradual and happens over the course of several weeks. The goal of this process is to put you on your way toward living comfortably with your food allergies. OIT treatment is overseen by our allergists, so in the event of a reaction, there is a trained professional ready to handle it. Within six months of treatment, approximately 80% of our patients who complete OIT are able to eat foods that previously threatened their health. This process can look very different for patients due to many factors.
Allergy Drops for Food Allergies: Similar to allergy drops for environmental allergies, allergy drops can be taken anywhere, but when it comes to a food allergen, it’s especially important to keep watch over your child for any signs or symptoms of anaphylaxis. It’s important to note that because these are not taken in the office, the concentration of the allergen is much lower than a regular OIT dose. Allergy drops can be taken anywhere, but when it comes to a food allergen, it’s especially important to keep watch over your child for any signs or symptoms of anaphylaxis. This means that this process does take longer than OIT, and the goal of food allergy drops—protection from accidental ingestion of an allergen—is different from OIT.
Palforzia: Palforzia is a newer treatment used to treat peanut allergies. This treatment has been shown to help patients' tolerance reach a level at which they would be free of symptoms from accidental ingestion of peanuts. It has been approved by the FDA and is classified as an oral immunotherapy.
Easter is a special time of year. It’s a great time to spend with friends and family, experience the beauty of spring, and enjoy the outdoors. But for those with allergies, these Easter traditions can be difficult to participate in. Luckily, there are easy ways to enjoy this time while staying safe and healthy. Don’t let allergies ruin your Easter fun, book an appointment and start taking steps to treat your allergies today!