Prepping for Summer Camp When Your Child Has Food Allergies

Summer camp is a perfect way to broaden your child’s world. But when your child has allergies and you’re sending them into an unfamiliar environment, you’re never sure what to expect. Follow these tips to keep your child safe while they’re away!

Common Food Allergies at Summer Camp

If your child is old enough to go to summer camp, you’re probably familiar with their food allergies. The most common among children are:

  • Peanuts
  • Soy
  • Milk
  • Tree nuts
  • Wheat
  • Eggs

Most of these foods are packed with energy and are healthy for non-allergic kids, so it’s likely counselors may prepare meals containing these… unless they’ve been warned.

Preparing Your Child

Before your child leaves, make sure they understand their allergies. They should know exactly what they’re allergic to and where they might encounter these foods. Make sure your child knows they’re allowed to say no to a given meal or ask for an alternative. Your child should also know the signs of exposure, so they can seek an adult as soon as possible.

Of course, kids may forget or not think of these things, and if a child is very young, this may go over their head. While it’s good to make sure your child knows how to choose food and set boundaries, you should make sure to consult with camp staff.

Making an Allergy Plan

Some summer camps may have plans in place for common food allergens — for instance, a no-peanut policy. But even if this is the case, you should still contact camp staff, preferably before you register your child, and let them know what’s up.

Be sure to clarify the exact nature of your child’s allergy. What foods should they not have? Is this a comparatively mild allergy, where they just shouldn’t eat the food, or can exposure alone set off anaphylactic shock?

Be sure to educate the camp staff about signs to look out for, such as itching, hives or trouble with breathing. Work with them to create a plan for if your child is exposed, such as emergency administration of an EpiPen or even transportation to the hospital if the allergy is life-threatening. The camp counselors should already have your phone number and other contact information, but remind them to get in touch with you if they have any questions.

Sending a child with food allergies off to an uncontrolled environment, like a summer camp, can be frightening. But with a little planning, you’ll both be fine. And if you have any questions or concerns, Dr. Andrew Lozano at San Jose Allergy & Asthma Center is happy to work with you to assure your child’s well-being.

What Is Hay Fever?

What is hay fever?

Allergy season brings with it sneezing, congestion and a host of other miserable issues. Allergic rhinitis, more typically known as hay fever, is one of the biggest offenders in this arena. In fact, between 10 and 30 percent of the global population suffers from the condition, making hay fever one of the most common allergies in any country. The following information is important if you think you may be suffering from hay fever.

Hay Fever Basics

Contrary to its name, hay fever might not involve hay or a fever. While hay could cause the allergy, other culprits such as weeds, grasses and even mold spores in the air can result in symptoms. These are some of the most typical causes of seasonal hay fever, but people may suffer year-round due to dust mites, pet dander and even roaches.

If you have hay fever, you will want to figure out the specific trigger and avoid it. Otherwise, you may just end up adding to the yearly $3.4 billion in medical costs related to the condition. Unfortunately, more children in America suffer from the condition than adults. No matter who the sufferer is, though, the symptoms of hay fever can be downright awful.

Symptoms of Hay Fever

A variety of symptoms are linked to hay fever. In addition to the aforementioned causes, the following symptoms could also be related to cigarette smoke, perfumes and even laundry detergents.

  • Nasal congestion
  • Nasal discharge (clear mucus)
  • Eye, nose, facial, skin or throat itching
  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Swollen or puffy eyelids
  • Fatigue

Unfortunately, these symptoms can lead to other issues. You may have difficulties concentrating, and you may even experience memory problems. Sleeping through the night can also become an issue, and you are likely to miss days at work or school. Fortunately, there are treatments available.

Treatments for Hay Fever

You will want to visit a healthcare professional if you suffer from the aforementioned symptoms. They will be able to verify if you have hay fever and identify the appropriate treatment for your specific case. The main treatment goal should be to avoid what triggers the allergy, but that’s not always possible.

Depending on the extent of your condition, treatments for hay fever could include allergy shots or prescription strength antihistamines. Your allergist may also recommend wearing sunglasses to avoid pollen, using bed covers or avoiding outdoor air during high pollen periods.

If you’re suffering from hay fever or other allergies, contact the Allergy and Asthma Center San Jose and get started on the path to relief.


Sources

  • http://www.aaaai.org/about-aaaai/newsroom/allergy-statistics
  • http://www.medicinenet.com/hay_fever/article.htm
  • http://acaai.org/allergies/types/hay-fever-rhinitis

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