Summer camp is a joy-filled experience for many children and young adults. According to the American Camp Association, more than 14 million children and adults attend camps in the U.S. each summer. But for parents, sending kids to camp with bee sting allergies may bring feelings of worry and fear. Here are some tips to help you and your camper prepare.
Learn the Camp’s Requirements for Children with Allergies
Let the camp know about your child’s severe allergy during the application process. Some camps may require your child to have a physical exam and clearance from a pediatrician before arrival. Depending on your child’s age, this is also an excellent opportunity to make sure they are trained and comfortable administering their epinephrine pen.
Create an Emergency Action Plan
Have an allergist-approved Emergency Action Plan in place. Take time to walk through it with camp medical staff. Please make sure the instructions are clear and they understand how to react to an emergency.
TAKE TIME TO THINK OF YOUR QUESTIONS AND ASK THEM!
Never be afraid to ask questions! Here are some good ones to keep in mind:
- Who on staff is trained to administer epinephrine pens?
- If an emergency arises, how quickly can camp staff respond to bee sting allergies?
- How has the camp responded to similar situations in the past?
BE CURIOUS ABOUT THE CAMP’S EPINEPHRINE STOCK
Make sure the camp has a sufficient number of epinephrine pens on site. You deserve to know! Some states have laws in place which allow camps to obtain and administer epinephrine in case of emergency anaphylaxis (see the full list). Ultimately, it’s the caregiver’s responsibility to provide epinephrine when the child is attending camp with known allergies.
Most epinephrine pens come in packs of two, but depending on the camp layout and activity schedules, it may be smart to have more readily available. Discuss this with camp staff and your child’s doctor before arrival.
ENSURE EPINEPHRINE WILL BE STORED CORRECTLY
Are you providing the camp with epinephrine? Review proper temperature and storage with your child’s counselor and staff medical professionals. Heat can lead to the degradation of epinephrine. Carrying the pen in a container with a cooling pack may be necessary during longer outdoor excursions.
LEARN THE CAMP ACTIVITIES
Discover what activities the camp offers and discuss any concerns you have with staff. You may choose to tailor your child’s schedule to avoid trigger-prone activities. There also may be a way to have their epinephrine transported with them during those events. Your camp staff should be able to clarify their policy.
STILL CONCERNED ABOUT ATTENDING CAMP WITH BEE STING ALLERGIES?
Speak with the camp director. Their goal is for everyone to have a fun and safe summer camp experience, even those attending camp with bee sting allergies.
Also, an epinephrine auto-injector is a reactive, emergency treatment for a severe insect sting allergy. Choose to be proactive and talk to a doctor about venom immunotherapy for your child’s bee or wasp allergy.