4 Halloween health tips for 2021
Doctors of osteopathic medicine focus on prevention, and with the spooky holiday right around the corner, now is the perfect time to read up on some Halloween safety guidelines that’ll help keep the entire family safe this year.
Boys and ghouls of all ages love Halloween. This Halloween, be sure to sparkle. To avoid accidents involving pedestrians and motor vehicles, costumes should be bright and reflective.
Carry a flashlight while trick-or-treating, and consider accessorizing costumes with glowstick bracelets or necklaces, suggests emergency medicine physician Jasper Yung, DO.
“Makeup should be spot tested on skin prior to application over a large area to ensure no sensitivity exists,” says gastroenterologist Nathan Landesman, DO. “Additionally, masks should have adequate ventilation and allow a clear line of sight in any direction.”
Dr. Landesman adds that colored contacts should only be worn if prescribed by an ophthalmologist after a complete eye exam, and if any redness, pain, or vision changes occur, the contacts should be removed immediately. Contact lenses should not be shared with friends.
Because COVID is still cause for concern this year, trick-or-treaters should keep vigilant: frequent use of hand sanitizer, wearing face masks, and social distancing should still be practiced.
Carefully carve out some fun
Creating Jack-O-Lanterns is a Halloween tradition! This year, be sure to do so safely. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 44 percent of the estimated 4,500 Halloween-related injuries in 2019 were related to pumpkin carving activities.
“With pumpkin carvings, always maintain control of sharp objects and try to maintain the pumpkin being as dry as possible with a towel or absorbent material,” says Dr. Yung. “When using knives and scissors, always maintain sharp objects within sight, so no inadvertent injuries occur.”
Dr. Landesman adds that there are child-friendly carving tools and sets available for purchase. He suggests using battery-powered lights instead of candles as well.
Eating too much candy on Halloween (or any day, for that matter) can cause upset stomachs from causes like GERD (reflux) and gastroenteritis (inflammation).
“High sugar intake can also lead to excess energy and difficulty for children to sleep, as it is better to eat candy earlier in the evening to allow for the body to rest and digest,” Dr. Yung says.
According to Dr. Landesman, adult women shouldn’t consume more than 25 grams of sugar per day and adult men shouldn’t consume more than 35 grams of sugar per day.
“This ‘sugar ceiling’ should be strongly considered for kids with lower limits enforced depending on coexistent health/behavioral factors,” Dr. Landesman says.
Dr. Landesman also points out that any homemade treats should be avoided due to potential allergies. Candy should be inspected before eating to ensure it’s fresh, individually wrapped, and unopened.
Low-risk Halloween fun
Some fun, low-risk activities that families can enjoy this Halloween include a trip to a pumpkin patch, hayrides, telling ghost stories, visiting apple orchards, exploring corn mazes, watching scary (or not-so-scary!) movies, or braving a haunted house.
However you will be celebrating this year, have a safe and fun Halloween!