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Special Heat Issues At Local Asthma Summer Camp

MERIDIAN (CBSDFW.COM) - The heat is taking a toll on summer camps across North Texas. Many camps are even making changes to keep kids safe, but at Camp Broncho in Meridian the heat is only one concern.

Camp Broncho is a camp specifically for kids with moderate to severe asthma.

Hannah Estes has been going to the camp for the last three years. "You get to learn about asthma here, when to take your inhaler, and when you're having an attack," she explained, "and you just get to meet new friends."

Hannah, who is from Colleyville, isn't letting asthma keep her from doing the things she loves. "You can still do activities that are like jump rope and run and stuff," she said excited. "But if you feel like you have to stop and take a breath and use your inhaler, you can do that."

Four years ago, when she was first diagnosed, Hannah would have painted a different picture of what having asthma really meant.

"I was scared because with asthma you can't really breath well," she recalled. "So I was thinking 'What if I have an asthma attack. What if I can't breathe? What if I die of it?'"

The 11-year-old has now learned to control her condition... thanks to Camp Broncho.

"Many of these kids haven't been allowed to go away to camp because their parents are afraid they'll get sick, they'll have problems with their asthma and there won't be people there that know what to do," explained Cook Children's Medical Center pulmonologist Dr. Karen Scholtz.

The camp is staffed 24/7 with doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists. The kids get to participate in a number of outdoor activities; including a ropes course and zip line, as well as swimming, fishing and horseback riding.

Dr. Scholtz said, "We make sure when they're going out to activities, like riding horses which is a big one for asthma kids, or the ropes, or other environments where they are going to be exposed to triggers for their asthma that they take extra precautions."

This year, organizers have also had to take special precautions because of the heat. Some of the outdoor activities, like ultimate Frisbee and archery, were moved to a covered pavillion so the children weren't out in the direct sun.

"Any activity that's outside they have to have their water or Gatorade with them, we also have rags soaked in ice water to let them cool down." Scholtz explained.

Click here to find out more about this year's Camp Broncho.

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