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The Summer Camp Asthma Care Checklist

Asthma image

Summer is here, and many children are heading off to camp. Parents can follow this asthma care checklist if their asthmatic child is going to camp.

Find out who is responsible for medical care at the camp. Is there a physician 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 (when appropriate), including technique and the use of peak flow zones;

actions to take when asthma symptoms occur 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 that 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); and

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 doctor 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, and possibly a nebulizer.

Ask where the medication is kept at camp. Make sure the quickrelief 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.

Summer camp is an experience children often have fond memories of as adults. Children with asthma can attend camp with careful planning and by following the asthma care checklist. This checklist can help parents, children with asthma, and camp staff work together to provide a safe camp experience for children with asthma.

 

Camps for children with asthma are available. Find an asthma camp near you at AsthmaCamps.org.

Source: National Jewish Health, www.nationaljewish.org

This article was originally published in Coping® with Allergies & Asthma magazine, July/August 2010.