Don’t Hop to Allergy Conclusions on Easter!
Easter is a blessed holiday frequently spent with family and friends. Easter celebrations bring several potential allergy exposures (food, pollen, latex and pets).
How to prepare for an “allergy-safe” Easter:
- Host: If you are the host, don’t assume your guests do not have allergies—that can be dangerous. When inviting guests, inquire as to allergies–foods but also pets if present at the home.
- Guest: If you are the guest, be proactive and prepared. Inform the host of your family member’s allergies. Bring “safe foods” and your self-injectable epinephrine.
- Easter candy including those chocolate bunnies may contain cow’s milk proteins (whey, casein) and potentially traces of soy, wheat, peanuts or nuts. Although, labeling is required for major food allergens, “may contain” statements make it confusing for consumers and healthcare providers and individually wrapped items may not even have a label.
- Eggs: the hard shell of an egg is safe to touch, but egg proteins (ovalbumin, ovomucoid) in egg white and egg yolk can lead to serious reactions.
- Label foods on the buffet table with key allergen ingredients (the “big 8” are milk, egg, wheat, peanut, soy, nuts, shellfish and fish).
- Easter Basket: fill with fun non-food/non-rubber latex items such as the following
- Glow sticks
- Pencils & Pens
- Stuffed animals
- Necklaces & bracelets
- Note pads
- Finger puppets
- Bouncy balls (latex free)
- If candy is a must, find allergy-friendly ideas at: https://community.kidswithfoodallergies.org/blog/allergy-friendly-easter-candy-guide
- Chicks and bunnies are popular during this holiday. Rabbit allergies can be severe and feathers from poultry (chicken, duck or goose) may trigger nasal, eye and even lung symptoms.
- In the U.S. at least 50% of households have at least 1 furry pet. As the host, keep pets outdoors or quarantined in a room with the door closed. Thoroughly clean the common areas and if a room air purifier is available, turn it on before guests arrive.
- Spring is also tree pollen season especially hardwood trees such as birch, box elder, maple, oak and others. While millions of pollen grains blow through the air, it may take only a few hundred to trigger an allergic reaction when they land on the moist surfaces of your eyes and nose. If weather is permitting and the Easter Egg hunt may take you outside, prepare by taking your antihistamine that morning or better yet, begin a non-prescription over-the-counter (OTC) nasal cortisone spray a few days ahead. After being outside on that spring day, wash your hands, face and eye glasses, change clothes when you arrive home and shower before bed.
At Family Allergy and Asthma Care of Montana, we wish you a Happy Easter! Be safe and have fun!
This information is solely for informational purposes and not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional.