Locals respond to trick or treaters with food allergies

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    A national campaign is working to provide a safe Halloween for kids with food allergies. The Teal Pumpkin Project is to raise awareness of food allergies and to promote the inclusion of all trick or treaters. One in every thirteen children is affected by food allergies and that’s why the organization FARE is asking people to pledge to provide non-food treats to trick or treaters. The organization FARE stands for Food Allergy Research and Education. The Teal Pumpkin Project is to signify that you are handing out something that is safe for all kids that have allergies, which means no food or candy of any kind. A local physician, M.D. Anjum Rana, says kids can be allergic to anything, so you can’t just eliminate peanut butter, “most of the time the people delivering or giving the candy don’t have any idea what active ingredients is in the candy.”
     The purpose of this campaign is to raise awareness of different allergies. Many people may think that if they aren’t handing out peanuts or peanut butter that their okay, but there are thousands of different food allergies. A local Athens resident, Carol Bard, says her neighbors children are allergic to a number of things found in candy, “Their allergies are so severe to food, but because of that we know that we know we need to have something special for them. One of the children has such severe allergies that all she can have at Halloween is marshmallows.”
     Rana says, this campaign is also a great opportunity for parents to learn the signs of an allergic reaction, because people can develop new allergies, “People mostly think that an allergic reaction is just like generalized hives, but their can be other manifestations, like excessive cough, wheezing, shortness of breathe, child is turning pale”
     If you want to participate in this national campaign you can paint a pumpkin teal to signify you have toys for people with allergies. You can still handout candy as well, but that way people with allergies can still participate in trick or treating.  If you don’t have a pumpkin to paint teal, you can print off a free sign on FARE’s website or make a donation and get a free window cling. If you would like to pledge to participate click here. 
 

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