Preparing Your Asthmatic Child for Summer Camp

It’s summer time and that means fun, sun and camp! 

Sending your child away to summer camp can be really difficult, especially for the parents but, it may be particularly hard for the parents of asthmatic children.  The worries can be numerous; will their asthma flare up?  What triggers are lurking?  Who will help them if they have an asthma attack? Will they know what to do?  These concerns are valid but, if you follow these recommendations, you can feel better about sending them to camp and allow your child to make memories that will last a lifetime!

  1. Find out who is responsible for medical care at the camp:           
    - Is there a nurse or physician on staff? 
    - Are they available 24 hours a day?
    - Does the staff have asthma training?   
    - Who will be administering medications and are they medically trained to do so?
  2. Plan a meeting with the camp medical staff prior to the first day of camp to discuss:
    - Your child’s triggers
    - Your child’s asthma symptoms
    - Using a peak flow meter daily and what is your child’s personal best reading is
    - Actions to take when your child has symptoms or the peak flow reading is in the  yellow or red zone
    - Use of their MDI and spacer
    - Allowing your child to keep his/her inhaler with them and if not, where will it  stored so it can be retrieved quickly
  3. Provide your child’s asthma action plan and discuss it with the health care provider.
  4. Provide and label all necessary medications and equipment for the entire camp stay.
  5. Talk to the health care provider during the camp stay to see how your child is doing and how the action plan is working.

Communication is key and the earlier you talk with the camp leaders the better you will feel about letting your child go to camp! 

Also, start packing and involve your child in the process,  if you organize everything ahead of time, you will decrease your stress level and ensure your child is ready to go! 

Listed below are some guidelines about what to pack:

  • Send all medications and medical devices if needed (be sure to let the camp know of ANY allergies, chronic conditions such as asthma or diabetes) and how the medications are to be administered. 
  • Provide an Asthma Action Plan if your child has asthma!
  • Your child will need about two outfits for each day at camp. Add extra socks and underwear.
  • Send practical, durable and washable comfortable clothing.
  • If your child wears eyeglasses, consider sending a second pair. Also pack sports safety eyeglasses.
  • If your child wears braces, don’t forget rubber bands, retainer, etc.

 

IDENTIFY EVERYTHING with your child’s name!  Use fabric pens or labels to mark each item with your child’s name.

Make a list of what you send.  Tape one copy to the inside lid of the suitcase or tuck it in a pocket of the duffel bag and keep one copy at home.  This will help your child when they are packing to come home.  It will also help you when unpacking to know if there are any items missing and if your kids are like mine…there will be missing items!!

Sappy mom tip: tuck little notes into their clothing.  They’ll be delighted to “hear” from you as they unpack.

Be sure to pack the following items:

  • Address book (with names and addresses from home, as well as blank spaces for new names)
  • Stationary, pens, stamps, and some pre-addressed, stamped postcards
  • Autograph book
  • Books
  • Comfort item (stuffed animal, favorite pillow case, picture of a pet)
  • Travel-sized games
  • Deck of cards
  • Disposable camera
  • Flashlight with batteries
  • Insect repellent (lotion – no spray)
  • Light jacket or heavy sweater
  • Long and short sleeved shirts
  • Long pants (2 pairs)
  • Rain Poncho
  • Shoes (2 pairs)
  • Shorts (4 to 5 pairs)
  • Pajamas
  • Socks
  • Hat
  • Underwear
  • Swimsuits
  • Pillow
  • Laundry bag
  • Sleeping bag
  • Soap in a box
  • Toothbrush & tooth paste
  • Deodorant
  • Lip balm
  • Sunglasses
  • Towels and washcloths – not too thick….they take forever to dry!
  • Waterproof sunscreen
  • Wet wipes/antibacterial gel
  • Spending money

Enjoy your summer and stay safe!!

Louisa Gallagher, RN, AE-C

This entry was posted in Activities

2 Comments

  1. Concerned Mom
    Posted July 9, 2011 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the tips about how to help my child have a great summer experience. Because of your help, we were able to send our daughter off to camp and not worry about her. Thank you very much for the information!

    CM

  2. admin
    Posted August 12, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    So happy the information was helpful for you and your child! I hope summer camp was amazing! Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.

    Sincerely,
    The Community Asthma Partnership.

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