by A. Grano on June 8th, 2012 at 8:52 am
With camps available for all interests, ages, and activity levels, more and more kids are signing up. The American Camp Association reports that more than 11 million children attend summer camp each year.1
However, for children sensitive or allergic to certain foods, summer camp could also be a disaster without a little advance planning.
According to the Mayo Clinic, eight foods are responsible for approximately 90% of allergic reactions and include:2
- Tree nuts (such as almonds, cashews, walnuts)
- Fish (such as bass, cod, flounder)
- Shellfish (such as crab, lobster, shrimp)
Food allergy symptoms commonly include:3
- Tingling of the lips or mouth
- Itching and hives
- Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat
- Difficulty breathing or nasal congestion
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
Be sure to ask about meals when deciding on a camp to see if there are any special considerations for allergies taken with food preparation. Find out what their containment policy is and whether or not there are alternative meal plans available. If your child brings his or her own lunch, be sure it adheres to the camp’s policies, as some restrict certain foods such as those that are peanut-based.
Also, check out the medical facilities. Some camps have specialized medical staff onsite at all times to administer epinephrine in emergencies. Most camps require a medical history and medication forms, so ensure that you have all the information handy to avoid registration issues, including the name of your child’s physician and emergency contact information.
Be sure to document in detail your child’s allergic symptoms so the camp can be immediately aware of a problem.
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1. American Camp Association, “Camp Trends Fact Sheet,” AcaCamps.org.
2. Mayo Clinic staff, “Food Allergies: Understanding Food Labels,” Mayo Clinic.
3. Mayo Clinic staff, “Food Allergy: Symptoms,” Mayo Clinic.