Thursday, June 16, 2011

How to send severe food allergics to day camp?

How to send severe food allergics to day camp?

-First, two definitions:

Day camp is an implied right of average american kids during their summer school break (and could also be substituted with sleep away camp).

Severe food allergics are those who, upon certain allergen consumption (or merely exposure), might have a life threatening allergic reaction (which could be anaphylaxis a.k.a. anaphylactic shock). These folks have been to an allergist and the families have filled a prescription to get at least one EpiPen (epinephrine auto-injector).

So, how to send severe food allergics to day camp?..

Managed programs of (a) allergen avoidance and, (b) in case of emergency, EpiPen availability, knowledge of use plus additional procedures, need to be in place at the camp.

Allergen Avoidance:

-Brown bag lunch and brown bag snacks should be sent each day from home. At least lunches need to be put into a camp fridge with a plastic bag surrounding them, if they are to be placed next to other lunches. Name and date need to be tagged on each bag.

-Any snacks sold or given to everyone at camp need to have labels reviewed prior to consumption.

-Camp cooking classes must be managed. Substitute foods to go into a recipe need to be provided, and possibly substitute dishes suggested, as appropriate.

-Daily camp round trip bus rides need to be managed for allergen avoidance. Bus counselors need to understand about the severe food allergics on their bus.

-Labels need to be reviewed. These may explicitly state allergens included or may state that during the manufacturing process there may be allergen exposure. For packaged food, no label means no camp consumption.

-Lunchtime table seating with other severe food allergics (in a “clean place”) should be an option.

-Camp offsite trips require diligence similar to being onsite.

Emergency planning and management:

-EpiPen managed by nurse staff. EpiPen to be delivered before the first day of camp. EpiPen stays thru entire camp session. EpiPen is name tagged, home addressed, home phone numbered and has current photo and age data attached. EpiPen tagged stating dangerous allergen(s).

-Camp nurse staff/admin staff understand reaction/exposure emergency procedures – might be EpiPen use/Call 911/Go to hospital.

-Camp offsite trips require similar planning and management.

This may not be fully comprehensive, but should help to get the kids out the door to camp.

And Finally…

The Kids Must Have Fun!

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