Summer is here and many children are heading off to camp. Parents can follow this Asthma Care Checklist if their child with asthma is going to camp.
Find out who is responsible for medical care at the camp.
Is there a doctor or nurse on site? Who is the medically trained person who will be administering medications? If your child is going to an overnight camp, is a medically trained person there 24 hours a day?
Plan a meeting with the person responsible for medical care and your child's counselor on or before the first day of camp.
Your child can be involved in the meeting. Topics to discuss include:
What makes your child's asthma worse, especially in the camp setting
Asthma symptoms, including the child's awareness of the symptoms
Peak flow use (if your child has one), including technique and the use of peak flow zones
Actions to take when asthma symptoms occur and/or peak flows are in the yellow or red zones
Use of a metered-dose inhaler and spacer at camp, including the correct technique
Whether the healthcare provider and the parent recommend the child keep the metered-dose inhaler and spacer with him or her. If not, the metered-dose inhaler and spacer should be quickly accessible when asthma symptoms occur.
Use of daily medicine, including the correct technique.
Provide a written Asthma Action Plan to support what you discuss at the meeting.
Talk with your child's healthcare provider before camp about the written Asthma Action Plan. The Asthma Action Plan should include what medication to take daily, what medication to use to treat asthma symptoms and decreases in peak flow zones, what medication to use as a pretreatment before exercise, emergency telephone numbers and what makes the child's asthma worse.
Provide the necessary equipment for the stay at camp.
This often includes enough medications for the child's stay at camp, a spacer, peak flow meter (if using) and possibly a nebulizer.
Ask where the medication is kept at camp.
Make sure the quick relief inhaler will be available when needed.
Talk with the medically trained person during the camp stay to see how the Asthma Action Plan is working.
This asthma checklist can help parents, children with asthma and camp staff work together to provide a safe camp experience for children with asthma.
Specific camps for children with asthma are available.
Champ Camp is a residential week-long summer camp for children with asthma in Colorado. The American Lung Association is a good resource for further information about Champ Camp or for information about asthma camps in different parts of the country.
Summer camp is an experience children often have fond memories of as an adult. Children with asthma can attend camp with careful planning and by following the asthma care checklist.
Find an asthma camp near you.