Ask the allergist: Camping and managing an anaphylactic reaction   

June 9, 2022

Dr. Julia Upton
Dr. Julia Upton

Ask the allergist is a regular feature in our newsletters where Canadian allergists answer your questions!

Dr. Julia Upton is on staff at the Hospital for Sick Children in the Immunology and Allergy Department; and an Associate Professor in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto. She is the past Section Chair of the Anaphylaxis and Food Allergy Section of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Dr. Upton is also a member of our Healthcare Advisory Board.

Please note: Dr. Upton is answering as an individual allergist and her answers do not constitute an official position of her affiliated organizations. Her responses are for informational purposes only and do not constitute specific medical advice, recommendations, diagnosis, or treatment. Please talk to your doctor about any concerns or questions you may have regarding your own health or the health of your child.

This month she answers a question about camping and managing an anaphylactic reaction.


I want to go camping but I’m afraid of how to deal with the possibility of anaphylaxis. Can I rely on my epinephrine auto-injector to save me?

Family With Friends Camp By Lake On Hiking Adventure In Forest

As a physician, I really like Food Allergy Canada’s central message of living safely and confidently with food allergy. To me, this means control what you can and be prepared for what you can’t. 

With camping, there are many things under your control including which foods you bring. You can know the ingredients of foods and drinks, ensure asthma is controlled if you also have this condition, know the signs, symptoms and treatment of allergic reactions, and have at least 2 epinephrine auto-injectors with you. 

For allergic concerns other than food allergy, such as reactions to bees or wasps, it would be important to know if you are a candidate for treatment with venom immunotherapy (allergy injections) before you go camping. This type of treatment is highly effective in preventing future reactions to stings.

It’s also a good idea that your fellow campers know how to help if you’re having a reaction and that you know the location of the closest hospital to your campsite.

With some planning, camping can be a great experience for all.


To learn more

Do you have a food allergy-related question you’d like to ask an allergist in the months to come? If so, send it along to us at info@foodallergycanada.ca. Please note: The allergists in this series answer questions on general topics, please talk to your doctor if you have questions about your own health or the health of your child.


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