Healthy Holidays

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    It is not safe to wear contact lenses purchased from a Halloween store. There is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” contact lens, and it is in fact illegal for any contact lenses to be sold without a prescription. All contact lenses, even the ones that you might be wearing just to complement a spooky Halloween costume or change the color of your eyes, are medical devices that have to be fitted by an eye care professional.

    We all have eyes of different shapes and sizes, which is why -- even if you have perfect vision -- you need to get an eye exam from an eye care professional, such as an ophthalmologist or optometrist, and get a prescription (which includes determining the right size and fit contacts for your eyes).

    Consumers should only buy the decorative lenses from an eye care professional or a seller that asks for a prescription. Wearing contacts that are not properly fitted can result in scratches to your eye, serious infections and vision loss.

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    Make sure trick-or-treaters will be safe when visiting your home. Remove lawn decorations, sprinklers, toys, bicycles, wet leaves or anything that might obstruct your walkway. Provide a well-lit outside entrance to your home. Keep family pets away from trick-or-treaters, even if they seem harmless to you.

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    Lisa Lillien - What are healthy alternatives to Halloween candy?

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    When kids get home from trick-or-treating, allow them to use their newly acquired Halloween candy as a sort of currency. First, have kids pile through and choose favorites and non-favorites. Then, make a wager with them that for every piece of candy they fork over they get a penny or nickel. Then kids can use their newly acquired money to buy something (non-food focused) at the store. With the candy that is left, be sure to immediately stash out of sight. Allow kids to choose one piece a day and preferably after a meal.
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    When trick-or-treating on their own, have children:

    • Carry a cell phone, if possible
    • Go in a group and stay together
    • Only go to houses with porch lights on and walk on sidewalks on lit streets
    • Know to never go into strangers’ homes or cars
    • Cross the street at crosswalks and never assume that vehicles will stop
    • Carry flashlights with new batteries
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    When the kids come home from trick-or-treating, have them dump their candy bags on a table so you can make sure it all looks safe and not tampered with in any way. If there are candies your child doesn't care for, put them aside to give away or throw away. If you work in an office or have somewhere else you can share them, do so. If not, just toss them -- and don't feel guilty. It's better for everyone's health.
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    Keep candy (if you chose to have it in your house) in a cupboard, out of sight. Choose 1-2 small pieces of only your favorite candy, sit down, and don't do other activities (watch TV, read, etc) while you take time to enjoy them.

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    The following are 10 tips that parents should remember:

    • Always accompany younger children for trick-or-treating.
    • If they are old enough to trick-or-treat by themselves, have your children go in groups—even if only on your block or in your building.
    • If your children is going on dark streets, have them take a flashlight. If they are going in apartment buildings, accompany them inside.
    • Do not let your children enter a stranger's home or apartment. Have them ask for the treats while waiting outside the door.
    • If your children are trick-or-treating at nighttime, make sure their costume is bright in color, or have them wear reflectors.
    • If they are wearing masks, make sure the eye holes are the right size and in the right place so that vision is not blocked.
    • Instruct your children on proper street-crossing safety.
    • Make sure costumes are made of non-flammable material and are short enough so that they don't trip.
    • Do not let them eat any candy before they get home and you examine it.
    • Make sure they throw away any unwrapped foods.

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    Here are some tips to help you stay healthy on Halloween:

    1. It's a Holiday.
    • Trick: Despite what the stores say, Halloween is just 1 day -- and Halloween shouldn't start candy/treat week, or season.
    • Treat: If you make it one day you can treat yourself -- enjoy your favorite candy and/or baked goods.
    2. "Better For You" Sugar
    • Trick: "Sugar-free" but made with artificial sweeteners; often time they don't even taste as good. Or what about when it says "No Sugar Added" (there's already enough sugar in there, they didn't need to add more) or "Naturally Fat-Free" (hint hint, there never was any fat in Twizzlers -- where this label comes from -- but there's also no Twizzler tree in Nature -- nothing natural about it -- and it has enough sugar to make a lot of fat in the body if we eat it beyond our 1 day holiday).
    • Treat: Naturally sweet (organic fruit), organic fruit-juice sweetened, organic sugar.
    3. What's the Main Activity?
    • Trick: Eating candy? Driving around to houses?
    • Treat: Walk, bike, roller blade, games for trick-or-treating and parties.
    4. What's Sweeter than Candy?
    • Trick: Using candy as a reward for doing chores, good behavior, and good grades -- now there's a huge negative health trade-off!
    • Treat: A game or toy they want (they can give you candy for it on Halloween night), you can also get them a new toothbrush (radius.com) and use this as a time to discuss how important teeth brushing is on holidays as well as regular days.
    5. All the Colors of the Rainbow Provide Health?
    • Trick: Candies made from artificial dyes? This is not what I mean when I say that nature gave us all our health needs with all the different colors. Our bodies don't know what to do with Blue #7 but they know what a blueberry provides.
    • Treat: Dyes made from vegetables and fruit.