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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, ILL (February 14, 2018) – Sending your “baby” with allergies or asthma off to sleepaway camp can be stressful. But if they’re safe and happy at camp, you can relax and enjoy a little peace and quiet. How to achieve happiness for all?
“Kids with allergies and asthma need an extra layer of preparation to ensure they stay healthy and enjoy their adventure” says allergist Bradley Chipps, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “Parents have to make sure they have packed the right medications and that there’s been communication with the camp in advance to keep their child’s symptoms under control.”
Below are 5 tips from ACAAI to help you and your child enjoy their time away from home.
- Check in with your allergist – For everyone’s peace of mind, make an appointment with your child’s allergist before they head off. It’s good to make sure their medications are effective and symptoms are under control. If they’re not, your allergist can tweak your child’s treatment and offer tips on how to steer clear of triggers. Ask about a personalized plan for your child that you can share with camp personnel.
- Can she eat some more s’mores? – If your child with food allergies is ready for sleepaway camp, she’s probably also learned how to be speak up and watch out for herself. Ask yourself and your child if she understands how to be on the lookout for her allergens. Does she always carry her epinephrine auto injector, and a spare? You’ll need to talk with the kitchen staff in advance, and let her counselors and the medical staff know the foods that will cause an allergic reaction. Tell your camper to make sure her friends know about her food allergy so that if a reaction happens, they’ll be prepared to help.
- Flashlight? Check. Inhaler? Check. - Before putting Junior on the bus with his duffle bag, make sure he has packed all the right medical supplies. Kids grow over the school year, so double check that prescriptions are the right dose for his height and weight, and are up to date. Advise the camp staff about your child’s medical needs, and speak with the medical staff before the first day of camp.
- Sing – and scratch – around the campfire – No one wants a run-in with poison ivy, but it can be particularly bad for those allergic to the plant. The rash that results from plants like poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac is a form of allergic contact dermatitis and is very uncomfortable. You can send along calamine lotion with your camper, but they’ll probably need a trip to the camp nurse or doctor if they have an allergic reaction.
- An extra layer of security – If you think your child’s allergies and asthma might need more attention than a regular sleepaway camp can offer, check into specialty camps. There are camps just for kids with asthma, and camps that deal specifically with food allergies. These camps provide specialized medical staff and personnel who understand how to treat allergic diseases. An internet search should turn up a camp in your area that can provide the special focus your camper might need.
For more information about treatment of severe allergic reactions, as well as asthma, and to locate an allergist in your area, visit AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org.