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If your child has asthma, you may feel caught between conflicting needs to keep him safe and to let him do all the things other kids get to do. Outdoor and away-from-home activities such as camping may seem like too big a risk. But there are things you can do to give your child a safe camping experience, including sending him to a camp just for kids with asthma.
Asthma is a health condition that can cause difficulty breathing. Only you and your child’s doctor can decide if camp is a good choice for your child. Here are some things to think about:
• Triggers – Is your child allergic to dust or mold? Both of these triggers are going to be common in any camping situation. If there are certain pollens that affect your child’s breathing, look for a camp in an area where those plants don’t grow or during a time of year when the pollen count is low.
• Responsible – Is your child ready to be responsible for his or her health? Counselors and other adults at camp can help your child with medications and make sure the medications are kept in a safe place. But your child will need to recognize the signs that a flare-up is coming and make sure to have rescue medication handy. Your child will also need to be comfortable and willing to ask for help if needed.
The American Lung Association, the YMCA, and other organizations offer special camps just for kids with asthma that can help take care of these concerns. Some camps are day-camps and others are residential camps lasting a week or more. These specialized camps feature a variety of medical care and professional staff to help campers stay healthy. Many also offer age-appropriate asthma training to campers and give them the opportunity to talk about living with asthma with other kids their own age.
You will need to do some extra planning and provide important information for your child’s care at camp, especially if the camp is not specifically for children with asthma.
• Information - Talk to the adults in charge about your child’s special care needs.