Dirty candy: Trick-or-treating for candy or germs?

Published: Oct. 30, 2014 at 6:58 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 30, 2014 at 11:30 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - You never know where the next cold will come from.

A sloppy sneeze, a polite handshake or maybe a bowl of Halloween candy.

Just how likely is it for germs to tag along as kids go door to door?

It's a tradition that spans centuries. Dressing up to spook, scare or enchant and satisfy that sweet tooth. But is part of that tradition swapping more than candy?

"Any time you get a group together, whether it's a school or party you do have that concern," said Sandy Gibbons.

Registered nurse Sandy Gibbons says colds and viruses are typically easier to spread as the temperature drops outside.

And Halloween is the kick-off to that season.

"Everybody has a different immunity level," Gibbons said. "So one child may have the virus and may not be sick with it, may not come down with symptoms. He goes to a party and maybe there's someone there who just had their tonsils out. Or maybe their immunity is not as great for whatever reason, they get around that virus, they can get very sick."

One mom says that's why she takes every precaution on trick-or-treat night.

"I'm wiping their hands, they know that their candy stays with me until we get home,"said mother of two Heather Tidwell. "I go through it and if it's not something I'm familiar with I don't give it to them. I only give them the stuff that's not open and I know where it came from."

Experts say parents should follow those tips.

"Let them put it in the bag. You don't reach into the bowl where 50 other kids have had their hands in it also," Gibbons recommended.

Other ways to stay germ-free include making sure candy is individually wrapped, telling kids to keep hands away from their face and making sure they don't share masks.

"That's something my mom always did with me when I was little," Tidwell said. "So it's tradition I guess that's carried on with me. The wipes and the Germ-X is kind of a motherly instinct."

So you can be extra careful by wiping down surfaces and hands, but one thing you don't really need to beware Halloween night is germs.

"We don't really see an increase in colds any more during Halloween than we do during any other time," said Gibbons.

Gibbons added that kids aren't any more at risk trick-or-treating than they are any time in public.

Whether it be a restaurant, store or school, kids will be exposed to some germs.

She said it's just about making sure you take some precaution to prevent that spread of germs.

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