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Camps that are on the ball

My younger son was newly diagnosed as peanut allergic the Friday before a full week of Ontario Science Centre Camp that would start Monday. Not thinking, and overwhelmed with the possibility of another anaphylactic child, we left the allergist's office without a prescription for an epinephrine auto-injector. That evening, I emailed the health coordinator at the summer camp to inform her that now my younger son could be allergic to peanut. On Monday morning, the first day of camp, I was approached by the head camp counsellor of my son's group who asked for his epinephrine auto-injector since learning of his allergy. (At that moment, I realized my son didn't have one.) I gave her the "spare" epinephrine auto-injector I keep with me in my purse, in case my older son, who is peanut anaphylactic has a reaction. (My older son wears two EpiPens´┐Ż in an Epi belt.) Thank goodness for alert camp counsellors!


I wanted to enroll my son at Havergal Day Camp, which is in the neighbourhood. I had heard so many good things about it. I was surprised to find that the camp nurse gives an antihistamine to anaphylactic campers if they have just hives. I raised my concerns with this procedure and advised her that the standard advice was to err on the side of caution in a camp setting and administer epinephrine. As mild symptoms, such as hives, could quickly progress to something life-threatening. I forwarded information from Anaphylaxis Canada as well as a protocol from another camp that my son had attended, which was excellent. The camp nurse reviewed all of this information with Havergal's physician, and also consulted with the Ontario Camping Association, which supported the information I had provided. I was happy to be told by the nurse that the camp would change its protocol and revise training for camp counselors.

Lesson Learned: There are still some organizations using outdated information, when it comes to dealing with an anaphylactic emergency. After I voiced my concerns, I took myself out of the loop emotionally, and forwarded factual information, which spoke for itself. I was very careful to take a collaborative approach to effecting change. This strategy has served me well in getting things accomplished.

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