Summer Camp Fun – With Allergies!
June 9, 2016
Summer camp can be a great experience for children. It’s estimated that each year, more than 11 million children and adults attend a day or summer camp, run by nonprofit organizations, religious organizations, or private entities. If your child has allergies, there are some important things to consider as you get him or her ready for a summer of fun memories. Schedule a visit at BreatheAmerica to guarantee your allergy plan is updated and your child’s symptoms under control prior to leaving for camp!
Depending on the camp your child attends, there may be forms for you and/or maybe your child’s doctor to complete concerning medical history, current medications, and allergies. Whether a child has allergies to foods, pollen, or insects, it is essential that camp personnel are made aware of the medical diagnosis and have a written action plan in place for treatment.
For the nearly 6 million children in the U.S. with food allergies, it’s important that camps are provided with a food allergy action plan including all known allergens and, if your child has an epinephrine autoinjector, confirmation that staff are trained in the use of this medication.
Children old enough to carry their EpiPen or Auvi-Q should always carry two devices with them, and should know how and when to use the devices. For younger children, their epinephrine devices should be accessible without delay. Parents should speak with the camp’s staff about meals and snacks that will be provided, to make sure children with food allergies are accommodated and can fully participate in activities. Finally, a medical alert bracelet should be considered for children with severe food and/or contact allergies.
Bee or wasp allergies
A bee or wasp allergy is another condition that needs extra caution at summer camps. Serious reactions to stinging insects, including bees and wasps, are fortunately rare in children. Most often, the stings cause swelling of the skin without more severe symptoms like trouble breathing, wheezing, vomiting or a drop in blood pressure, which would require treatment with epinephrine. If your child experiences these more severe symptoms after wasp or bee sting, he or she should be evaluated by an allergist and provided an allergy care plan for camp.
Allergy to pollen is a third diagnosis that can be a concern at summer camp. Since children may be spending more time outdoors, and may be in an unfamiliar climate, they could have an increase in symptoms such as nose and eye itching, congestion, and sneezing. Prepare your child by ensuring they take their daily allergy medications prior to increased, prolonged pollen exposure. After spending time outdoors, it is important that children with pollen allergies take a bath or shower and change clothes when they come inside, especially before bed.
At BreatheAmerica, we want children with allergies and asthma to enjoy all life has to offer and not miss out on the fun of summer camp, field trips, sports and other common warm weather activities. If your child has allergies, pick a camp that can meet your child’s medical needs and develop a plan with your BreatheAmerica allergist for long-term allergy control. With good communication between the child, family, and camp staff, allergies won’t stand in the way of summer camp fun!