Summer camps are a fun and exciting way for children to spend their time off from school, but they can also present challenges for parents of children with allergies and asthma. Dr. Kathleen May, President of ACAAI, urges parents to take extra steps to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for their children.
The first step is to search for summer camps that specialize in catering to children with food allergies or asthma. These camps have trained medical staff who can effectively manage allergic diseases, ensuring that your child is in safe hands. Parents can conduct an internet search to find a camp that is close to their location and caters to their child's specific needs.
It's also important to ensure that your child's prescriptions are up to date and that their symptoms are under control. If your child has a severe allergy, ensure that you have enough epinephrine auto-injectors with you. Additionally, consult with your child's doctor regarding their COVID vaccination prior to camp.
Effective communication with camp personnel is crucial for your child's safety. Make sure to provide detailed information about your child's health needs and inquire about how the camp staff handle emergency situations. Find out the location of the nearest hospital and inform the camp personnel about any potential challenges that your child may face during certain activities
When it comes to food allergies, speak with the kitchen staff and ensure that no areas exist where cross-contamination can occur. Before choosing a camp, find out how the camp monitors and communicates information about food allergies.
If your child is attending a day camp, pack a bagged lunch to ensure that there are foods that they can safely eat. Remind your child that eating other children's food is not acceptable and encourage them to inform their friends about their food allergy so that they can be prepared to help in case of a reaction.
Finally, it's important to remind your child to stay away from poison ivy, oak, or sumac, as they can cause a severe allergic reaction resulting in a rash. Provide calamine lotion and inform the camp nurse or doctor about your child's allergy. Remind your child to stay away from leaves of three to prevent any potential exposure to these plants.
Furthermore, summer camps can be a fun and exciting experience for children, but they can present challenges for parents of children with allergies and asthma. It's important to take extra steps to ensure your child's safety and enjoyment during their summer camp experience. By following the above tips, parents can effectively manage their child's allergies and asthma, allowing them to enjoy all the fun activities that summer camp has to offer.
SOURCE: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, news release, March 7, 2023
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