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Allergies : Happy, Allergen-Free Campers

Once the school year comes to an end and summer vacation starts, many families are gearing up for summer camp. Camp can be a fun, nurturing environment that teaches kids many of the skills they'll need in life -- problem solving, self-reliance, self-esteem, and social skills, among others. It can be a wonderful opportunity for kids to express themselves creatively while learning the value of community and physical activity.

Children with food allergies don't have to miss out on this experience. There are many camps across the country that are either designed specifically for children with food allergies or welcome campers with allergies. These camps remove certain allergens from their sites and have instituted procedures for anaphylactic emergencies and have trained medical personnel on site who are trained in dealing with allergic reactions and administering epinephrine.

As a resource for parents, Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) offers a list on their website, www.foodallergy.org, as a starting point for finding a camp that's right for your child.

FARE does not certify or accredit camps, and parents are encouraged to complete a thorough and independent review of the camp's practices and procedures to ensure their safety. But FARE offers some great information to get started. In addition to listing camps and locations, they offer dates, a quick description of the camp's procedures and trained staff, and the camp's website.
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