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Nuts can make Halloween life or death

Oct. 29, 2010 at 9:32 PM

CHICAGO, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- A U.S. doctor says keeping Halloween "nut-free" is important, in fact it could be life-saving, for children with nut allergies.

Dr. Sean Cahill of Chicago's Loyola University says nut allergies can be especially dangerous."

"Allergies can be a life-or-death situation," Cahill says in a statement. "Just because a child only had a rash the first time exposed doesn't mean it won't be more serious the next time."

Cahill and colleagues suggest a parent of a child with an allergy may want to take nut-free candy to neighbors in advance of Halloween to be given to the child.

They also suggest those who want to ensure children with a nut allergy have safe holiday should check labels -- stay away from food made on the same machine as with nuts.

Other suggestions include:

-- Making sure all pans, dishes and serving utensils previously used with nuts are thoroughly cleaned. If brownies with nuts are baked in the same pan as brownies without nuts, an allergic reaction may still occur.

-- Wiping down all surfaces. Reactions are due to touching a surface exposed to nuts, not inhaling nut particles.

-- Washing hands and brushing teeth after eating a nut product before hugging or kissing a child with an allergy.

"Research is showing that it's not airborne particles of nuts inhaled causing reactions, instead it is touching a surface that has been exposed to a nut and then ingesting the particles," Cahill says.

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