How Sugar Affects Allergies: Surviving Halloween
If you are a chronic allergy sufferer, you may manage your allergies effectively because it is a part of your daily routine — but you may experience more symptoms from the food you eat. Whether you manage allergy symptoms year-round or occasionally, you may encounter additional symptoms despite your attempts to manage allergies with medication or immunology treatments such as shots or sublingual drops. With Halloween approaching sweet treats are apart of the fun, however, the sugar that you consume can also be a culprit to your allergy problems.
This does not mean you are allergic to sugar, but there is a correlation with peak allergy season and certain foods like ones that contain high levels of sugar.
When sugar enters the body, it causes inflammation no matter if you have allergies or not. This inflammation may not be something immediately noticed however, if allergies are a concern — it is your allergic reaction to the environment that will be worse. For example, mold, ragweed, and even dust cause allergic reactions — but when allergens increase, this can send your immune system responses into a heightened state when combined with an increase in inflammatory foods that contain sugar.
Children & Sugar
When you have a child who has environmental allergies, it is essential to keep in mind the impacts of eating those Halloween treats. You may notice that your child feels worse after eating sugary snacks — fatigue and they may struggle to focus in class or on other tasks. Refined sugar will pull double duty on stuffy noses and raise blood sugar levels. Even an increase in blood sugar levels causes additional inflammation and limits the body’s ability to fight off the allergens.
If you and your children plan to enjoy Halloween trick-or-treating, then there are some ways to reduce the impacts of the increased sugar and environmental allergic reactions.
Make sure you or your child take any prescription medication as recommended by your doctor.
If you are not on a prescription, then you should consider an over-the-counter medication a week before Halloween festivities begin. Be mindful of the side effects such as drowsiness, excitability, or dry mouth.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Be mindful of other foods you eat the week before Halloween. Reduce any other sugary foods and snacks prior to trick or treating.
- Limit the number of candy/sugary snacks in one sitting.
- If it is your child, then limit his or her treats to after a meal.
- If you or your child have just come in from the outdoors and notice that allergies have flared, avoid sugar altogether.
If you notice that your child’s allergy symptoms increase during times like fall and spring and more so when they eat certain foods, make an appointment to visit with our staff and discuss testing and treatment options. If you suspect food allergies, there are tests that you and your child can have completed by the doctor. Stay healthy and safe this Halloween.