It seems strange to be making summer plans when there is still snow on the ground in many parts of the country, but if your child suffers from allergies in Aiken and you want to gain the upper hand over summertime allergies in order to keep them healthy and active, now is the time to get ready!
Keeping Kids Safe and Healthy at Summer Camp
Many parents look toward the end of the school year with a sort of resigned fate. Keeping kids busy while juggling household and career responsibilities is a challenge big enough to make some yearn for year-round education. If you’re like many Aiken parents, you may be sending your children off to summer camp for a couple of weeks. This is a win/win; it gives kids a variety of fun activities to keep them entertained, and it provides you with a much-needed respite.
If your child suffers from seasonal allergies, food allergies or asthma, you’ll need to spend a little extra preparation before sending them away to ensure they are safe and healthy and will have fun. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) has prepared a list of five tips designed to ensure your kids have a good experience at summer camp. They are:
- If your child suffers from asthma or food allergies, you might want to consider sending them to a camp geared specifically toward children with these conditions. Specialty camps are staffed with people who know how to treat asthma and food allergies. Check the internet for nearby camps that specialize in these conditions.
- Schedule an appointment with your child’s allergist before sending him or her off to camp. You’ll want to make sure you have a ready supply of prescriptions that are up-to-date, as well as any other supplies your child might need to treat allergies or asthma (e.g., an inhaler). Your allergist can help prepare a plan for you to share with the camp staff if necessary.
- Make sure camp staff have all the information they need about your child’s specific allergies and/or asthma. Certain activities can exacerbate these conditions and should be avoided. You’ll also want to provide them with a list of your child’s medications and a schedule for taking them (your allergist can help with this, as mentioned above). For peace of mind, ask questions: find out what plans are in place to handle emergencies, the location of the nearest hospital and how soon they can transport your child there in an emergency.
- Advise your child to avoid contact with plants that can cause an allergic reaction, such as poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac. These plants cause a very uncomfortable rash that will interfere with your child’s enjoyment of camp. It’s a good idea to pack calamine lotion just in case, but if your child is allergic, they will probably require a visit with the camp’s medical team.
- Children with food allergies need to take charge of their own needs and be extra vigilant to ensure they don’t ingest foods or beverages they are allergic to. Make sure your child carries an epinephrine auto injector at all times and pack a spare. Speak with the kitchen staff in advance to learn how they avoid cross-contamination and provide camp counselors and medical staff with a list of foods that will cause your child an allergic reaction. Instruct your child to let any friends they make at camp know about their allergies in order to avoid sharing foods that might cause harm.
Following these steps should ensure your child has a great time away at camp and stays safe and healthy. Now, get outside and shovel your sidewalk – summer is right around the corner!