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Understanding Severe Allergies of Kids and Teens at Summer Camp
Sending your child to summer camp can be nerve wracking if your child has a severe allergy. However, if you know how many camps are addressing allergies, then you may feel better about your child's camp experience. Below are some of the ways that camps accommodate campers with severe allergies.
Camps Often Offer Allergy-Friendly Sessions
Some camps will offer an allergy-friendly session. Campers with severe allergies are encouraged to enroll in these sessions and general information about severe allergies is sent out to all parents. Usually, during these sessions, extra medical staff is hired just in case there is an allergy-related emergency, and sometimes counselors are trained in the proper usage of an auto-injector.
Some Camps Can Accommodate Severe Allergies During Any Session
Some camps will accommodate a child with severe allergies during any session. However, it is important to give advanced warning to the camp. The camp will then inform the child's counselors about the child's allergy and possibly make announcements during a staff meeting.
The camp will avoid using food products that the child may be allergic to while they are at camp, but there is some risk that another child may bring an allergen from home.In this case, counselors are taught to dispose of the allergen carefully.
Many Camps Are Moving Towards Allergy-Friendly Campgrounds
Because of an increase in severe peanut allergies, many camps are simply eradicating common allergens that cause severe allergic reactions from their camps. For example, peanut butter is rarely offered for snacks or lunch and other butters or pastes are used in its place.
Communication Is Still Important
Despite more allergy-friendly environments and staff training, it is important that you communicate your child's needs with the camp before you enroll in a session. You should also ask several questions about how the camp plans to accommodate your child's needs.
With care and planning, it is possible for many camps to accommodate campers with allergies. However, it is important that your child is prepared for the experience and the camp staff has been well-informed about the severity of your child's allergies in advance.