Camping with a food allergy [250K — An allergy awareness project]

Camping with a food allergy

Camping with food allergies

School and youth camps are a great opportunity to get away with friends and try new things away from your parents.

It’s okay to feel a little anxious about camp. Remember, the school and camp staff will be doing their best to look out for you.

Be sure you speak up and ask about food content. Always have your medication to hand and tell someone if you feel unwell.

If you and your parents plan ahead and communicate with school and camp staff, the risk of a reaction is reduced — so get into it, have fun with your friends!

Some things your parents can do

Make an appointment to meet with the camp coordinator well in advance of the camp. At this meeting, discuss strategies for managing your allergy.

Check that an emergency response plan has been developed for this camp. Some questions your parents might ask include:

  • Have all staff done anaphylaxis training?
  • Where will your emergency medication be kept?
  • Who is doing the camp catering and can you have their phone number?
  • Do any camp activities other than meals, like games or rewards, involve food?
  • What are the rules about bringing snacks on camp?
  • Will teachers be supervising meal times?

Ask camp operators about who will be providing and supervising meals and activities

Talk to the camp cook in charge of catering. Ask how they cater for food allergy. This should include checking whether kitchen staff have knowledge of food allergy and cross contamination and whether a meal specifically prepared for you will be provided.

Some things you can do

  • Help your parents prepare a medical kit for camp. Take at least 2 EpiPens®, a copy of your ASCIA Action Plan, any other medications including antihistamines or asthma puffers.
  • Talk with your parents or carers about any worries you may have.
  • Take appropriate snacks for yourself that you can also share.
  • Don’t accept snacks from your friends on camp — only eat the ones you have bought yourself.
  • Read labels of any pre-packaged foods — don’t take any risks with foods that say they “may contain” your allergen.
  • Make sure you get the right meal. Always speak clearly when getting your meal saying exactly what allergy you have.
  • Don’t share someone else’s meal or ask for a “regular” meal instead of your allergen-free meal.
  • If you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction, lie down on the ground and tell someone to go and get an adult straight away. Tell them that you are having an allergic reaction. Follow the instructions on your ASCIA Action Plan.

Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia has produced a great booklet to help you and your parents prepare for camp. It can be purchased from their online shop.