Teal Pumpkin Project Interview

Teal Pumpkin Project makes Halloween a treat for kids with allergies

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Trick-or-treating is supposed to be fun for kids, but for millions of children, getting candy in their bag can be scary or even deadly. A supportive nationwide campaign is growing to keep kids with food allergies safe.

Super heroes are the costume of choice this year for 3-year-old Sam Glick and his 1-year-old brother, Ryan. But trick-or-treating can be tough because the two siblings have food allergies.

“Halloween is supposed to be something fun and something kids look forward to. A child affected by food allergies, it can be something they dread. They feel very alone,” says their mother, Dr. Abby Glick.

Glick says it can be challenging making sure her sons don’t get into anything that can be potentially deadly.

The pediatric endocrinologist established the Northeast Ohio Food Allergy Network this year. It’s a support group for families affected by food allergies.

The Lyndhurst family is part of the nationwide “Teal Pumpkin Project,” which started a year ago by the Food Allergy Research and Education Organization. The color teal is designated for food allergy awareness.

“It’s a sign that when we go to those doors, they’ll offer treats other than food,” explains Glick.

Treats like bubbles, stickers, glow sticks and crayons.

University Hospital’s Dr. Sam Friedlander is an allergy specialist who reminds people of the potential dangers, especially this time of year.

“Unfortunately, manufacturers change their practices sometimes. So candies and foods that are sometimes safe during the rest of the year, might not be safe during Halloween,” says Friedlander.

“By having the opportunity to go to a house that has a teal pumpkin, that makes their night. And they can get something in their basket that they can keep and be excited about,” says Glick.

Click here for a map of local homes participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project. Click here to download a sign to place outside your front door to show you’re participating.

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Stress and Anxiety in Families with Food Allergies

Fall 2015 Psychology Event

Families with Food Allergies

Stress and Anxiety in Families with Food Allergies

Amy Przeworski, Ph.D. Assistant Professor at Case Western Reserve University, recently spoke to members of NEOFAN about stress and anxiety in families with food allergies. Some topics she discussed were warning signs of anxiety and ways of coping with stress. She emphasized the importance of considering their developmental level when teaching about allergies and risks.

Some indications of child anxiety may be:

  • Sleeping difficulties (nightmares, sleep walking, insomnia)
  • Worry
  • Physical complaints(stomach aches,headaches)
  • Twirling hair, biting fingernails.
  • Child looking drawn/worn down
  • Repetitive behaviors (checking ingredient lists repeatedly, asking for reassurance that there are no nuts in the food, etc)
  • Avoidance of situations that involve minimal risk

Some Social Impact of Anxiety of the Family may be:

  • Some parents restrict the family’s social activities to prevent accidental exposure
  • More than 30% of parents of children with food allergies make more than one visit per month to their child’s school to discuss their child’s allergy
  • 10% of families in one study home-schooled their child because of their food allergy
  • Those with food allergies have higher absences from school relative to healthy children

To learn more please see Dr. Przeworski’s notes on Stress & Anxiety in Families with Food Allergies.


Supporting Allergy Friendly Halloween

At this event the first 20 attendees were given teal paint to use for Halloween in support of the Teal Pumpkin Project.

Families with Food Allergies