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Experts Offer Advice On Watching Out For Halloween Candy Allergies

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Who can resist Halloween candy?

If you have food allergies, it may be in your best interest.

Most candy treats contain at least one of the top three allergy triggers for kids.

"Many children who have food allergies are allergic to milk, egg, soy, wheat, peanut or tree nut," says Dr. Deborah Gentile, an allergy specialist at Allegheny General Hospital. "I have some families that won't let their children go trick or treating. Or they'll only take them to safe places."

Addie Winzen has a 6-year-old with nut allergies.

"He picked up a wrapper from a peanut butter cup that someone else had eaten," she describes. "He had immediately broke out in hives. His face was swollen, his hands were swollen. Anywhere he touched himself after he handled the wrapper."

Every year, she makes her own treats.

Sometimes she'll special order allergy-safe candy from Europe or Canada.

To protect your neighbors, avoid chocolate; go with fruit snacks and licorice, which are less likely to cause allergies. Silly bands and stickers make nice treats, too.

"A lot of the schools are getting away from more having the candy, and just having a different type of party, and celebration, so it's not all about the candy," says Dr. Gentile.

To protect your own kids if they have allergies: "A lot of families will actually provide their children with their own non-allergenic treats. They'll actually encourage the children to get involved in other types of activities," explains Dr. Gentile. "You'll also have parents who will allow the child to go out and trick or treat, but they're not allowed to eat anything until the parents have gone through the whole bag and read the label."

"As careful as you try to be, as much as you watch, you never know when there will be that one instance when they pick something up that isn't safe," worries Winzen.

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