Summer Camp Safety Focus Food Allergic Children

by Ren Chats
(Denmark)

Sending child with food allergy for summer camp?
Anxious?
Naturally so!

But children need to be away from home at day care center, school, socials or teen excursion camps.
Food allergy can hit anytime and anywhere.

It certainly is overwhelming situation for both children and the parents.

Adequate information and efficient implementation of safety strategies are the only answer.

Gravity of problem

Food allergy is common. In a group of 15, 2 to 3 children suffer from food allergy, and with it comes hesitancy and unpredictability. The fear that some foods could make them suddenly and gravely sick haunts them constantly.

Children love to share their lunch box, but food allergic children learn to keep to themselves. They are often looked upon as choosy, snobbish, pampered and precocious. Consequently they suffer mockery, social isolation and even bullying.

Awareness brings understanding

I was at kids’ party, where I noticed a 4 year old go round asking if cake, cookies and chocolates contained egg. Children laughed and giggled. Kids obviously did not know the significance of her question, and the organizing adults were too busy.

To get her answer she further emphasized by saying "I get anaphylaxis if I eat egg, does this contain egg?" For want of adequate awareness the reaction to the little girl's questions were far from desired.

All children have one or more peers who are allergic to food.
It is essential that not only the responsible organizing staff at summer camp but other children at camp are adequately informed about food allergies, its consequences and urgency for treatment.

Ensure your child’s safety

Besides teaching your own child to avoid the known allergens notify the summer camp organizing authorities of your child’s allergies and other health issue. Actually this is required whenever a child decides to be away from home and parents; at day care, with baby sitter, school and so on.
• The child’s identity:
Name and picture.

• Provide medical care bracelet.

• List of foods to be avoided and possible substitutes that child is allowed and likes to eat.

• Specify symptoms and signs your child usually gets.

• Provide written food-allergy action plan.

• Entrust your child’s prescribed treatment to the health care provider of the camp.

• Supply two self-injectable epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) devices.
One to be carried on person; by the child if permitted or by the supervising adult in charge of the child. In time of need the second self-injectable epinephrine device kept in the health office can also be availed.

• Consent to administer epinephrine when in doubt: Epinephrine is generally safe.

o Timely administration of the required dose proves lifesaving.

o Qualified health professional is not always within immediate reach.
It is therefore best to give consent to administer epinephrine when in doubt, and immediately thereafter activate emergency medical services.

o Its lifesaving action in face of anaphylaxis outweigh its side effects; tremulousness, increased heart rate, flushing or paleness, anxiety, headache and nausea.

• Instructions to activate emergency services.

• Provide local emergency medical services phone numbers.

• Leave your contact information.

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