NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s called Camp Easy Breezy and it’s six weeks of fun for kids with asthma.
“There’s been some good data in the past that have shown when you have an asthma camp it can have a very favorable impact both in terms of reducing hospitalizations later as well as er visits as well as school absenteeism,” said Dr. Byron Kennedy, Director of Health for the City of New Haven.
Dr. Kennedy says New Haven’s asthma rates are five times higher than the statewide average. The reason why has yet to be determined. School and city officials joined forces with the Parks and Recreation Department to organize a camp that brings kids with asthma together and helps them just be kids.
“We recognize when you have kids who have asthma they may think wow, I’m the only one who has this problem. Having a camp like this is a unique opportunity for kids to learn that wow, there’s another kid like me who has asthma. There’s also another kid who’s using an inhaler and has to use an inhaler,” said Dr. Kennedy.
The camp started this week and will run for six weeks total. It is open to kids with asthma and their siblings. The counselors are specially trained to help kids manage their conditions and there is a full-time nurse on staff. Kids bring their own medications but there are also emergency supplies on hand.
“We administer the medication during the day, primarily before they have exercise,” said nurse Gloria Roasati-Culver.
At Camp Easy Breezy the focus is on having fun. Kids participate in the same activities offered at other camps in the city but there is also plenty of monitoring their conditions and educating them about their health.
“I can do all the same things but I just need to premedicate before I do certain things,” said eight year old Arielle McKenzie.
Dr. Kennedy says they hope to expand the program next year.