Sunday, October 21, 2018

Teal is the New Orange

A few years ago I would not have known what this title meant, and maybe as you are reading it right now, you are questioning the same thing. I would not have realized how important the color teal is to millions of Americans all over the country, and how important it has become to our family.

My two and half year old son has a rare allergic disorder, eosinophilic esophagitis which causes inflammation in his esophagus, and makes him extremely sick if he eats certain foods. My son is lucky, in that his only food allergy is dairy.  However, many children and adults are allergic to many different foods. It is always a challenge when we go to special events, such as birthday parties and holiday gatherings.  I am that mom who carries bags and coolers of food around, so he can eat just like all of the other kids, and not feel different or feel left out.

Halloween is a special event, that yes, we are most definitely looking forward to.  But it is especially tricky (pun intended) for kids and families with food allergies, like us. Many of the traditional Halloween treats contain common allergens like peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, soy or wheat. Lots of the fun-size versions of candy items contain different ingredients than their full-size counterparts, and do not have ingredient labels, so it can be a real challenge when trick-or treating.

Here is where the color teal comes in. Teal is the color of food allergy awareness. The Teal Pumpkin Project is a worldwide movement that not only brings awareness, but it also helps those who suffer from food allergies to feel more included and safe on Halloween.

For four years, people have been placing teal pumpkins outside of their homes to show that they have non-food treats for children with food allergies and medically-necessary dietary restrictions.

Participating in the movement is easy:

  • Place a teal pumpkin outside of your home, 
  • Provide non-food treats
  • Add your home to the teal pumpkin project map, and  
  • Spread the word with friends and family.

Not only are food allergies life-altering and potentially life-threatening, but the disease is also a growing public health issue. In the U.S., one in 13 children has a food allergy – that’s roughly two in every classroom. The Teal Pumpkin Project is simple, but the impact it can have on those living with food allergies, is immense.

My family will be looking for teal pumpkins this Halloween for good reason but we want all families to avoid Halloween hazards we all need to be aware of.  For a quick rundown of safety tips to keep your little pumpkins safe, click here.  

Lindsay Dareff, RN
Registered Professional Nurse 
Health Planning and Promotion