Allercy and Asthma Health
The Official Publication of AAN - MA

Now Is the Time To Look for an Asthma Camp in Your Area

Summer Camp

By Sara Parker, MPH, RRT-NPS, AE-C

Ahhh . . . summertime! Spring and Summer are times for swimming, hiking, baseball, and going to summer camp.

Spring is often the time to sign up for Summer camp. Summer camp is a great opportunity for children to make new friends and participate in fun activities. However, if you have a child with asthma, you may feel a little differently about camp, and you might worry he will have an asthma episode while away from you.

Children diagnosed with asthma and allergies are often denied the opportunity to attend a regular camp. The fear may come either from the parents or from the camp directors. Either way, there is good news. With proper self-care, children with asthma can participate in every activity offered.

I know, because I am a respiratory therapist who is involved in a camp for kids with asthma in Missouri. Established through a partnership between the University of Missouri Respiratory Therapy Program and Washington County Memorial Hospital, Camp Catch-Ya-Breath is a free weekend asthma camp offered at the YMCA Camp of the Ozarks in Potosi, MO. The camp is for children ages 7–13, with the objective of helping them take control of their asthma and live their lives to the fullest.

Many other asthma camps around the country do the same thing. Check out these positive benefits a child will receive by attending camp —

  • Every child at asthma camp has asthma. Children do not have to worry about being the only child that has to carry an inhaler or epinephrine auto injector. This creates a welcoming environment for everyone.
  • Health care professionals staff asthma camps. Campers are closely assessed and monitored throughout the camp, ensuring dangerous triggers are avoided and medications are taken appropriately.
  • In the unlikely event a child does have an asthma or allergic event, a respiratory therapist, nurse, or physician is immediately nearby.
  • Asthma camp teaches your child about his asthma. Children participate in fun activities that help improve their understanding of asthma and the correct treatment. Most camps will include information about sign and symptom awareness, when to take rescue and controller medications, trigger identification, and breathing techniques. Most importantly, no activity is off limits just because they have asthma!
  • As your child is educated about her asthma, she can become more independent in this aspect of her life. Both parents and children win in this scenario!

To find an asthma camp near you, ask your child’s health care provider. Your child will need to have medical forms completed in order to attend camp. Another good resource for locating an asthma camp near you is The Consortium on Children’s Asthma Camps’ website:

Asthma camps create an opportunity for children with asthma to experience the fun that summer camps have to offer, with the added safety of having health care professionals nearby. Asthma camp is where a kid can be a kid without worrying about their asthma!

Sara Parker is a member of the American Association for Respiratory Care from Columbia, MO, where she serves as an assistant clinical professor in the respiratory therapy program at the University of Missouri.

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