Summer Camp and Asthma: Planning a Successful Experience for Your Child

  • As with most things in life, there is no reason why a child who has mild-to-moderate asthma cannot participate in summer camp if both parents and child agree this is a desirable activity. If your child has more severe asthma, then you still might be able to send him or her to a special needs camp. There are some designed specifically for kids with asthma.


    But a few precautions are in order, particularly because the child will be out of the parent's direct supervision for whole days (or even longer, with sleepaway camp) at a time.


    The first thing you'll want to do is check out the camp your child might be going to. For your child's safety, the camp should have a nurse on staff and in residence at all times. Camp counselors should also be familiar with dealing with kids who have asthma.

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    Also, check out the facilities. Air conditioning would be extremely rare, so this means your child will likely be in hot, humid conditions with lot of exposure to pollen and molds (if it's late summer when they go). Dust might also be an issue, as could insect droppings. If your child is allergic to any of those asthma triggers, then it might be challenging to keep asthma under control.


    If you do decide to send your child to summer camp, then make sure you share his/her Asthma Action Plan with the camp staff, including both the nurse and any counselors who will be working with your child. The asthma action plan is written instructions on how to treat asthma if it becomes an emergency. With the help of your pediatrician, you can write this plan, which typically includes your kid's asthma triggers, asthma early warning signs and what to do in an emergency.


    Also, be sure that an ample supply of medicine is provided to either the child (if that is allowed) or to the camp nurse. And that your child is allowed to carry the rescue inhaler with him or her at all times. At times, pre-treatment with the rescue inhaler may be necessary before hiking, running or swimming, if your child is prone to exercise-induced asthma.


    Finally, be sure you spend some time talking with your child before he or she goes off to camp. Go over when and how to use the rescue inhaler, as well as signs that it's time to ask an adult for help.


    By taking all these precautions, hopefully your child will have a successful experience with summer camp!

Published On: August 02, 2010