This summer children and adolescents who suffer from food allergies will be attending day and or sleep away camps throughout the U.S.Now is the right time to review the best strategies to minimize risk and raise the level of protection for affected children. With 2.2 million school age children with food allergies, many camps are now going "peanut and nut free" due to the increased prevalence of food allergic children.
The best resource for the parents and kids in my practice with food allergies has been the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN). Visit www.foodallergy.orgfor more information. "
Going to camp is an event that a child remembers forever. The key to success is clear communication with the camp staff and your child about how to manage
restrictions. With advance planning and preparation, children with food allergies should be able to participate in this unique experience filled with a lifetime of memories," said Anne MuA+-oz-Furlong, Founder and CEO of FAAN.
Eating outside of the home, especially during the summer vacation and camp season, can be done safely when proper education and preparedness as well as communication takes place on behalf of food allergic kids everywhere.Many states have recently enacted laws that provide for ready access to injectable epinephrine to children attending recreational camps.
Here is a just a partial list of helpful suggestions:
-- Be a "label detective" and know the product and chemical names of common food allergens
-- Carry and send safe snacks to camp and communicate with the camp staff about your child's food allergies before it begins
-- Discourage food sharing
-- If your child has peanut and/or nut allergies look for camps that are peanut free
Have an emergency action plan in place for the adults responsible for supervising your child at camp. Work with an allergist to develop this plan, such as FAAN's Food Allergy Action Plan available at http://www.foodallergy.org/actionplan.pdf.
-- Your child should have a "medic alert bracelet"(800-ID-ALERT)
Again there is no substitute for careful planning, coordination and communication with camp staff when you have a child with food allergies for a safe and enjoyable summer.
Dr. Clifford W. Bassettis an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the Long Island College Hospital and on the faculty of NYU School of Medicine.He is the current vice chair for public education committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. No information in this blog is intended to diagnose or treat any condition.