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Halloween Poisoning Is More Than the Fear of Tampered Candy

Halloween poisoning is a most unfortunate reality.  On Halloween night, close to 41.1 million children in the United States venture out into the neighborhood streets trick-or-treating.

halloween poisoning

Halloween Poisoning Advice

The following is some advice to help in avoiding the risk of Halloween poisoning and allergic reactions to candy and treats that are given to children, adults, and pets:

  • Be cautious of face paint and makeup. Parents and caregivers should purchase items from reputable sources with a name brand or are recognizable.  They should also check the ingredients for known allergens. Face products may cause skin irritation. Moreover, lead has been found in some paints and cosmetics…especially those that are found at bargain stores or are imported. At first, apply the product to a small area. Anyone who uses face paint should wash his or her hands with soap and water before eating.
  • Inspect Halloween candy for tampering.  Signs of tampering may include candy that looks or smells strange, labels with misspelled words, wrapping that doesn’t match the candy inside, or opened wrappers.
  • Watch for marijuana edibles masquerading as candy. Be aware of how similar these products can look like store-bought candy – with similar names and packaging, but whose spellings or wrapper color might be slightly different. Ecstasy pills or other drugs can also look like colorful candy. In addition, these products may contain high concentrations of drugs, causing the potential for severe effects in adults or children.
  • Be on alert to food allergies.  One in 13 children under the age of 18 in the United States is allergic to foods such as eggs, milk, wheat, tree nuts, and peanuts. Many children can have severe reactions. For that reason, monitor the candy and other treats your children take if he or she is allergic.
  • Don’t wear non-prescription costume contact lenses.  These products could contain iron, chlorine, and other dangerous chemicals and are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, (FDA) according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. So, only buy decorative contact lenses from retailers that require a prescription and sell FDA-approved products.
  • Keep an eye on your pets: Cocoa, chocolate, candy and other products containing xylitol, an artificial sweetener, are poisonous to pets and can cause diarrhea, seizures, vomiting, or even death.
  • Be careful with alcohol.  Many at-home Halloween parties serve alcoholic beverages. It’s vital to realize the alcohol content in beer, wine, liquor and cocktails/punches affects children and pets differently than it does adults; even ingesting a small amount could lead to serious health complications or death. As a result, a person who seems very drunk or has passed out may be showing early signs of alcohol poisoning and be in real danger. Immediate medical help is essential. “Sleeping it off” is never a safe option. Know the critical signs of alcohol poisoning.

Candy Tampering

Though Halloween poisoning and candy tampering is uncommon, it can still happen.  Most unfortunately, it happens every year. Be sure to tell your children to avoid eating their candy until you can actually inspect it. Furthermore, throw out any unwrapped or suspicious looking candy.

Call your local Poison Control center or the National Poison Control center at 800-222-1222 for immediate medical advice from doctors, nurses, and pharmacists who are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, if a child, adult, or pet has consumed a potentially dangerous product,

Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) has a directory of poison control centers, as well.


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