Halloween Can Be Frightful for Kids With Allergies, Asthma

SATURDAY, Oct. 26, 2019 — Allergies and asthma can turn Halloween into fright night, so parents must be vigilant.

Some fun-sized candy bars have no labels to alert about possible food allergens, such as peanuts, said Dr. Todd Mahr, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

But food allergens aren’t the only potential concerns.

“Halloween happens in the fall, so trick or treating involves being aware of fall allergies,” Mahr said in a college news release.

Ragweed and other types of pollen can trigger fall allergies. Keep pollen out of your house by leaving shoes at the door, and having children shower, wash hair and change clothes after they’ve been outdoors. Kids who take allergy meds should continue their medications for two weeks after the first frost, Mahr advised.

A sudden change in weather can trigger an asthma attack. If it’s cold on Halloween, consider an extra layer under or over the costume for children with asthma.

Dry, windy weather is bad for people with allergies, because the wind spreads pollen and mold. Monitor pollen forecasts to see if there will be high levels of pollen in the air on Halloween. If so, consider taking allergy medications.

Be cautious about haunted houses if your child has asthma. Fear and other intense emotions can disrupt normal breathing patterns, which can trigger asthma.

Many haunted houses also have smoke machines, and smoke of any kind is dangerous for those with asthma. If you do go to a haunted house, bring inhalers, Mahr recommended.

Better yet, instead of going to a haunted house, consider hosting your own Halloween party.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more on allergies and asthma.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: October 2019

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AHA News: 5 Scary Health Facts to Spook You This Halloween

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 23, 2019 (American Heart Association News) — Spooky, scream-inducing characters whose health has clearly taken a turn for the worse – skeletons and ghosts, for example – are as much a part of Halloween fun as pumpkins and candy.

But once the creepy decorations are put away, some frightening health facts can haunt us year-round – and should prompt us to take action.

“There’s been a lot of thought about how you motivate people to change,” said Mercedes Carnethon, a professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. “Sometimes scare tactics do work, like the anti-tobacco ads that showed the person smoking through a hole in her neck.”

Dr. Tyler Cooper, president and CEO of Cooper Aerobics, a comprehensive health and wellness center in Dallas, said no single strategy works for everyone.

“Everybody has a different motivator,” said Cooper, a preventive medicine physician. “If that’s fear, OK. But some people have this belief that if something hasn’t happened to them yet, it’s not going to happen. The best thing we can do is present the information about what they can expect if they continue down the path they’re on.”

If you’re not scared yet, here are some terrifying health statistics:

Most Americans spend more time in the kitchen than in the gym.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calculated in 2018 that just 23.2% of U.S. adults meet the federal recommendations for weekly exercise: at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as a brisk walk) or at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (such as running), and two sessions of muscle-strengthening activity. That figure was down slightly from the year before.

By comparison, a 2018 survey from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found people spend an average of more than four hours per week cooking and cleaning up the kitchen.

“People think that it requires some type of herculean effort to improve their health and that’s not true,” Cooper said. “If you’re not doing anything, start something. Just go for a walk around the block.”

Vaping among teenagers has soared.

In 2011, only 1.5% of high school students had used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, according to the National Youth Tobacco Survey. The figure in 2018 was 20.8%.

That increase, the CDC warned in a report earlier this year, “has erased recent progress in reducing overall tobacco product use among youths.”

E-cigarettes, which typically contain addictive nicotine, may damage blood vessels, raise blood pressure and increase the risk of clots. Beyond that, the CDC is investigating a nationwide outbreak of lung injuries linked to vaping that has resulted in a growing number of deaths.

Because the vaping phenomenon is still new, Carnethon said, “We don’t even know the effects on long-term cardiovascular health.”

Fewer than half of people who have a cardiac arrest outside a hospital get bystander CPR.

Immediate CPR can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chances of survival, according to the American Heart Association.

That means when someone suffers a cardiac arrest, bystanders are crucial until trained lifesavers arrive. Whether the reason is lack of CPR training or a reluctance to get involved, experts say doing something is always better than doing nothing.

There are 9.4 million American adults with diabetes who don’t know they have it.

Diabetes left untreated can lead to damage in nearly every organ in the body, with complications ranging from heart problems and strokes to vision loss, nerve damage and even amputation.

“If you don’t know you have it, you can’t treat it,” Carnethon said.

More than 14 million U.S. households are food insecure.

The term refers to people who can’t afford enough food for themselves or their families, or who may not have access to healthy foods to ensure a proper diet. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 14.3 million households were food insecure at some point during 2018, representing 11.1% of the nation’s households.

Even if people are not personally affected, Carnethon said, the national problem should alarm all of us.

“Social determinants like food insecurity contribute to health outcomes,” she said. “These are issues that as a society we can promote policy changes to improve the health of everyone.”

At Halloween and throughout the year, Cooper said, the message is the same: “Take charge of your own health. If you do your best to make even some minor changes, you’ll see the benefits.”

And if the facts and figures don’t scare you, Carnethon said, think about people.

“It seems data doesn’t motivate people, but personal stories and personal connections do,” she said. “We need to put a personal face on good health and make it as relatable as possible.”

So have a happy, healthy Halloween, she said. “And go easy on the candy.”

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: October 2019

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How to Keep Halloween Fun and Safe

SATURDAY, Oct. 19, 2019 — There’s no trick to keeping kids safe this Halloween — it just takes some planning, the American Academy of Pediatrics says.

Costumes should be bright, reflective and short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame. It’s a good idea to add reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.

Masks can limit or block eyesight, so consider nontoxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly so they don’t slide over eyes. Test makeup ahead of time on a small patch of skin to make sure it doesn’t cause any problems.

Review with children how to call 911 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or get lost.

When trick-or-treating, a parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children and everyone should have flashlights with fresh batteries. Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.

If older children are going alone, work together to plan a route that’s acceptable to you and agree on a specific time when they should return home.

Trick-or-treaters should stay in a group and communicate where they are going; carry a cellphone; stay on well-lit streets and only cross as a group in established crosswalks, never between parked cars or out of driveways.

If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.

To make your home safe, remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations. Check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs; sweep wet leaves or snow from sidewalks and steps; and make sure pets are restrained to prevent them from jumping on or biting trick-or-treaters or running away.

More information

The National Safety Council offers more Halloween safety tips.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: October 2019

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Ways To Celebrate Halloween Responsibly With Cannabis

Halloween is a spooky fun time of year, filled with fun events, themed parties, and CANDY. But the fog machine doesn’t have to be the only thing clouding up your living room this season. Cannabis, when used responsibly, can be the perfect addition to this year’s festivities.

This guide, brought to you by Hemper and their Halloween Inspired Smoking Box, will help you get your creative juices flowing with ideas for incorporating cannabis into All Hallows Eve.

1. Host A Costume Party

The best parties are always those that have an underlying theme for guests to follow. Whether it’s a black and white required theme, a masquerade, or even a get together inspired by Disney, themed parties are extra fun when it comes to showing off your creativity.

So this Halloween, why not try hosting a costume party? But not just any costume party… a cannabis inspired themed party! Tell your friends to come dressed as anything or anyone that involves cannabis, and see what kind of cool ideas stop by! Whether they show up as Snoop Dog or a giant pumpkin bong, a cannabis inspired costume party will be the highlight of your year!

Alternatively, you could host a non-cannabis inspired party and simply incorporate cannabis into the festivities. For example, make “Trick or Treats” such as cookies or brownies, with a twist.

Label them as “Trick” (weed-infused), or Treat (regular non-cannabis treat for non-users and designated drivers).

2. Movie Night

Halloween is a great night for a movie marathon! From comedic Halloween themed movies to traditional slasher films. Especially if you’re not typically a fan of scary movies, cannabis can ease fears and let you enjoy movies that you wouldn’t typically have the guts to watch.

Mellow out this season and toke up with your favorite strains guaranteed to help you enjoy, responsibly from the comfort of your own home…just don’t forget the snacks. Want to spice things up even more? Consider checking out Hemper’s October Hemper Box, filled with Halloween themed smoking tools and accessories, including a “Jack the Ripper Bong”!

3. Cannabis Arts And Crafts Night

It’s always more fun to smoke out of something that you made yourself. Well, maybe not always, but Halloween is the perfect time to challenge your creative skills and see who can make the best DIY bong or pipe!

Not into making a bong? Take this opportunity to make decorations for the season to hang up around the house or outdoors. From plastic milk carton skeletons to scary props, you’ll find countless “how to” videos online…just don’t use sharp tools or powered devices when high ok? Remember, fake blood is fun and creepy, real blood is downright scary. The last thing you want is to spend the night in the Emergency Room. Enjoy responsibly.

4. Halloween Game Night

Who doesn’t like a good game night? Many of us grew up playing games with friends and siblings, only to have graduated to drinking games in college and beyond.

But what about cannabis games?

Think of it as drinking games, but with a twist. Replace the shots of alcohol with hits of your favorite herb, and challenge your friends to a game of Never Have I Ever, Poker, Weed Jenga, Rock Band, or even an old school game like Pin The Tail On The Donkey! Cannabis will make any Halloween game into a burst of giggles and fun.

Just remember, moderation is still key and advised. So plan accordingly and make sure participants are staying within limits they are comfortable.

5. Cannabis Dice

Speaking of games, why not try a game of cannabis dice? The best part is, you don’t need to use any special kind of dice! Although, the more sides it has, the more fun the game will be. Split a piece of paper into 2 columns.

In the left column, make a numbered list of spooky dares, and in the right column, make a list of things you have to do while performing the dare. For example, scare a friend in the tune of a song. The loser has to take a hit until the winner says stop!

6. Nature’s Candy Cooking

If you like to bake, why not have a nature’s candy Halloween themed party? You can either invite your friends for a giant cannabis cook-off, or simply tell them to bring their own Halloween cannabis infused desserts, and see which one you like best!

Consider setting up blind taste tests, voting, and awards for the most unique, best tasting, best decorated, and other categories. The only limit is your creativity.

7. Carve A Cannabis Pumpkin

Step up your pumpkin carving skills and make your own pumpkin dab rig! Choose a nice, round pumpkin, and start by carving it out like you normally would do when carving a pumpkin. Next, scoop out the seeds, push the pumpkin stem through 2 opposite sides of the pumpkin, pour in some water, and kick off your Halloween with a pumpkin dab!

The best part about carving a cannabis pumpkin is that your October Hemper Box comes with all the things you need to complete your pumpkin rig! You can also check out their head shop to find many more smoking accessories.

Smoke Up this Halloween and Enjoy

We hope you enjoyed this Halloween guide on how to incorporate cannabis responsibly into your holiday festivities. Don’t be shy about sharing any ideas you have with us, we’d love to hear what you have in mind.

Shane Dwyer
Author: Shane Dwyer
Shane Dwyer is a cannabis advocate who isn’t afraid to tell the world about it! You can find his views, rants, and tips published regularly at The 420 Times.

Marijuana & Cannabis News – The 420 Times

Halloween: Keep A Close Eye on the Treats, Pets

Oct. 30, 2018 — At Halloween, a sweet treat for children can play a dangerous trick on an unsuspecting pet’s digestive system.

Scott Fowler, doctor of veterinary medicine for Atlanta’s Briarcliff Animal Clinic, has often seen multiple owners lined up with sick dogs who’ve gotten into unsecured Halloween candy, particularly chocolate.

“I’ve seen a ton of chocolate here this time of year, for sure. Adults give children candy, and they leave it out where dogs can find it,” Fowler says. “You get a line of people outside [the waiting room], with four to five dogs sitting there, potentially puking things up. And then you have to collect the puke and see what they had.”

But How Much Chocolate?

Chocolate is one of the most commonly ingested pet dangers, accounting for 7% of all cases reported to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

Fowler finds that a small or “fun-sized” amount of chocolate usually isn’t a cause for alarm. “We have a formula that compares the weight of the dog with the amount of what he ate,” he says. “Most candy bars have a decently low amount of chocolate. If a Labrador ate a mini-Snickers, it won’t do much. If a papillon or a chihuahua did, I’d be more concerned.”

Often the kind of chocolate can be as concerning as the quantity. “Darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate or white chocolate because it has higher levels of methylxanthines,” says Morieka Johnson, writer and host of the pet care blog and podcast “SoulPup: Tips & Tricks for Dog Lovers.”

A cause for worry with chocolate are mild stimulants known as methylxanthines, including theobromine and caffeine. They’re in coffee and cocoa beans as well as some medications. “Side effects [in dogs] include vomiting and diarrhea, excessive thirst, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures and [in extreme cases] even death,” Johnson says.

It’s Not Just Halloween

Halloween isn’t the only holiday when dogs can get into food that’s dangerous for them. Edible presents may be left under Christmas trees, loved ones can exchange chocolates at Valentine’s Day and Easter egg hunts often involve candy at a dog’s eye-level, with dire potential results.

“Candy and human snacks can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and in some circumstances pancreatitis, a serious illness which may require hospitalization,” says Leni Kaplan, veterinarian and clinician with the Community Service Practice at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals in Ithaca, NY.

Paula Emde of Atlanta dealt with the consequences of a dog eating candy many years ago when Boutros, her German shepherd mix, got into three boxes of foil-wrapped, brandy-filled dark chocolates recently brought from Germany.

“We went out for the evening and left three 24-packs on the hutch, and when we got back, all of them were gone, with shreds of paper and foil on the floor,” Emde says.

She immediately called her vet, who advised her to induce vomiting by giving Boutros a spoonful of hydrogen peroxide and then monitoring him closely.

Beyond Chocolate

Chocolate isn’t the only kind of candy that can be harmful to pets. “Sugar-free gum can have xylitol, an artificial sweetener. It can cause low blood sugar. The body can’t recognize it, so pumps out more insulin to get rid of it,” Fowler says.

Grapes and raisins, while considered healthy snack alternatives for humans, can be problematic for dogs. “They can cause significant kidney and red blood cell damage in dogs,” Fowler says.

Veterinarians from the Veterinary Emergency & Referral Group (VERG), a 24-hour specialty and emergency veterinary hospital group based in Brooklyn, NY, recommend pet owners keep candy in a confined, elevated location like a pantry.

Kaplan suggests that any food items that create pet dangers be kept in secure locations. “Restrict access to chocolate, coffee, caffeine, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins and any food containing xylitol or psychoactive cannabinoids such as marijuana,” Kaplan says. “Pets must also be kept away from any beverages containing alcohol.”

One Lucky Pooch

In the case of Boutros, the vets considered the brandy a greater risk than the dark chocolate, even after inducing vomiting. “They were concerned that it would be a double whammy and told me that if he showed signs of being drunk, to take him to the emergency vet,” Emde says. “And after about an hour, Boutros started acting like he was drunk – he was staggering, his eyes were glassy and he was reeking of alcohol.”

Emde took Boutros to a veterinary emergency room, where he was given activated charcoal to absorb toxic substances in his belly and decrease absorption into his bloodstream. While vets often use a funnel to get the activated charcoal into a dog’s system, in this case Boutros’ indiscriminate eating habits were an advantage, as he gobbled it up mixed with canned dog food, much to the vet techs’ surprise.

Afterwards, Boutros was fine and his eating habits undeterred.

Fowler points out that the local vet isn’t your only potential resource. “For people whose animals have ingested something, the ASPCA has a pet poison hot line with toxicologists on call. [The owners] can ask them ‘Here’s the amount they ate, is this a major concern?’ and they will say ‘You’re likely looking at this potential situation, here’s the treatment we recommend.’” The number is (888) 426-4435.

Real Foods to Watch Out For

Fowler points out that items considered traditional table scraps for pets can be harmful, even if they don’t contain toxins. “At Thanksgiving, they get scrap food from the table. Things high in fat, like the uneaten bits of ham or steak, can cause upset stomach or pancreatitis, which can be severe enough that they have to be hospitalized.”

Even chewing can lead to problems that result in high vet bills. “Bones, like the center bone of ham, can fracture their teeth,” says Fowler. “Labradors come in who have been chewing on antlers and rawhides for years and can get fractures in their teeth. My rule of thumb is, if you hit something against your knee and it hurts, it’s too hard to give to a dog.”

Some dogs even gnaw on jack-o’-lanterns or uncarved pumpkins. “Pumpkin is safe for pets to eat as long as it is not moldy,” Kaplan says. If your pet eats moldy pumpkin, contact a veterinarian immediately. Pumpkin rinds are safe to chew on as long as the pet is being supervised and does not actually eat the rinds. If a pet swallows rind, Kaplan says, it could become lodged in the gastrointestinal tract which will require veterinary medical attention and surgery.

Cat owners seldom have to deal with their pets eating toxic foodstuffs, but that doesn’t mean they have no risk of emergency vet visits at the holidays. “It’s more likely that they’ll swallow foreign bodies like string, toys or tinsel from Christmas trees,” Fowler says.


Scott Fowler, DVM., Briarcliff Animal Clinic, Atlanta

ASPCA.org: “Announcing the Top Pet Toxins of 2015.”

SoulPup: Tips & Tricks for Dog Lovers: “People Foods That Dogs Should Avoid.”

Veterinary Technician, “Death by Chocolate? Methylxanthine Toxicosis”

Leni K. Kaplan, DVM., Cornell University Hospital for Animals, Ithaca, NY.

Paula Emde, dog owner.

Veterinary Emergency & Referral Group (VERG): “Brooklyn vets give tips to pet owners to avoid Halloween scares.”

ASPCApro.org: “Activated charcoal.”

© 2018 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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