Halloween News Tips Extra!

Note to media: To reach the media contacts for any of these health news tips, call the Office of News and Publications at 214-648-3404.

A few precautions can help keep Halloween safe, fun 

Trick-or-treaters: When making plans for Halloween fun, be sure to include safety precautions in the evening’s line-up, says Dr. Paul Pepe, chairman of emergency medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

“Parents should make sure that the costumes fit properly. If the length of the costume is too long, children may trip and fall,” Dr. Pepe says. “Also, consider using make-up rather than masks to keep vision optimal.”

Dr. Pepe also recommends the following tips for a safer Halloween:

  • Wear only flame-retardant costumes and, if outside at night, make sure the costumes are bright and have reflectors.
  • Carry a light, strobe or other device so you can be seen after dark.
  • Travel in a group with adult supervision; make sure an adult chaperone is carrying a cell phone in case of an emergency; use the buddy system.
  • Plan your route to avoid busy intersections and poorly lit areas.
  • Go only to neighborhoods you know; avoid strangers’ houses; beware of unfamiliar pets.
  • Never eat unwrapped treats.

Media Contact: Connie Piloto

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/patientcare/medicalservices/hospitals/stpaul.html to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in emergency medicine.

How your little monsters can avoid skin rashes

Halloween dress up can be irritating for those with sensitive skin, says Dr. Erin Welch, a cosmetic dermatologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

“Kids and adults should be sure to wash off their makeup, paints and color from clothing at the end of the night to avoid irritations,” says Dr. Welch.

To help goblins and ghouls avoid day-after rashes, Dr. Welch recommends:

  • Don’t wear masks and costumes that rub color onto the skin.
  • Avoid tight clothing that can cause friction and irritation.
  • Try to use water-based make-up, which is easier to remove. 
  • Those prone to acne should avoid grease-based paint. Those with sensitive skin should avoid alcohol-based products.
  • Avoid home concoctions like food coloring and corn oil.

If a rash develops, try hydrocortisone creams. If it persists, see a doctor.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/dermatology to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in dermatology.

Media Contact: Russell Rian

Parents: If trick-or-treating scares your children, don’t force it

Fear can be a thrilling sensation for some kids, especially on Halloween, but parents should not push unwilling children into fear-inducing situations such as trick-or-treating, says Dr. Peter Stavinoha, a neuropsychiatrist at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

“We might think they will have fun, or we might remember having fun ourselves as children; however, it can be detrimental to a child to be placed unnecessarily in a fear situation,” he says. “The child may not have that basic level of trust that everything will be OK. This might seem irrational to adults, but it can quickly turn into a true panic situation for a child.”

If a child is scared to go trick-or-treating, Dr. Stavinoha recommends the following:

  • A parent should offer to tag along.
  • Go trick-or-treating before dark and carry a flashlight.
  • Plan alternative activities, such as movie night at home or a Halloween party.

Above all, don’t force the issue. “If a child fears trick-or-treating, that is really not a big deal,” Dr. Stavinoha says.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/mentalhealth to learn more about
UT Southwestern’s clinical services in psychiatry.

Media Contact: Donna Steph Hansard

Halloween goodies can be good for your kids

If entertaining young ghosts and goblins this Halloween, why not try some healthy alternatives to all those chocolate bars and candy treats?

With only a limited amount of preparation time and creativity, parents can offer such goodies as: apple wedges dipped in caramel sauce, celery sticks with peanut butter, ants on a log (frozen bananas topped with raisins), pretzels dipped in chocolate, or snack cereal drizzled with melted chocolate or peanut butter and lightly sprinkled with powdered sugar.

“Try something that’s nutritious, but presented with a little extra twist so as to make it more appealing to kids,” says Terry Brown, a registered dietician at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

For healthier handout treats, she suggests small packages of raisins, goldfish crackers, pretzels, trail mix, nuts, fruit roll-ups or granola bars.

In addition, it’s a good idea to ration the amount of candy a child eats at one time, Ms. Brown says. Placing a small amount of candy in a plastic bag for a special treat can help kids determine how much is enough, she says.

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/nutrition to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in nutrition.

Media Contact: Kristen Holland Shear


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