H1N1 is a new health concern this Halloween. A Geisinger physician cautions parents to be vigilant during the holiday's festivities.


H1N1 is a new health concern this Halloween. A Geisinger physician cautions parents to be vigilant during the holiday's festivities.

“H1N1 is a contagious and unpredictable virus that has affected children at a higher rate than adults,” said Lisa Esolen, M.D., director of Infection Control, Geisinger Health System. “As large numbers of children gather for trick-or-treating and Halloween parties, it is important to use common sense and take precautions to lessen the chance of getting sick.”

To minimize the potential for spreading H1N1, parents distributing candy should place treats in each trick-or-treater's bag and avoid having children place their hands in a common candy bowl. Parents also should avoid shaking hands or touching costume props or flashlights that visitors are carrying.

When attending Halloween parties, toys, face-painting brushes or other utensils should not be shared and traditional games like bobbing for apples should be avoided.

“Parents and children should use hand sanitizer frequently throughout the night, and as always, it is best to avoid anyone who appears ill,” added Dr. Esolen.