Camp Breathe Happy educating, entertaining asthmatic kids in D.C.

(Photo: Themohers/flickr)

D.C. has some of the highest rates of asthma in the United States, and one local day camp is helping kids with the life-altering condition breathe a little easier.

Layona Whitehead is one of the thousands of kids in D.C. living with asthma. The soon-to-be seventh grader says the condition sometimes makes her feel different.

“Some people don't understand how having asthma is,” she said.

But now there’s a new camp for kids just like her.

Camp Breathe Happy, the new free two-week day camp in D.C., is only for kids with asthma.

“They can learn about asthma how to better control it all while doing all fun other camp activities kids do,” said camp organizer Ebony Andrews.

Some of those activities include crafts, sports, field trips and even magic shows.

With the assistance of respiratory therapist, nurses and camp counselors, the kids also learn what can trigger their asthma, what they can do to limit their risk of an attack and how to properly take the medication needed to stay healthy.

“My warning sign is chest tightness,” Andrews added.

With nearly 14,000 kids living with asthmas, D.C. has one of the highest rates in the country.

Camp organizers say this is a chance to try to teach children, especially those in underserved areas, how to live with a condition that can often make the simple act of breathing difficult.

This summer’s sweltering heat wave has also added to the risk of having an asthma attack.

“We talk about heat indexes, grass weeds, how the hot weather can trigger asthma,” said Respiratory Therapist Olu Akinwande.

Camp Breathe Happy is open to any child who is between the ages of eight and 12. Parents are required to fill out a registration form. Another session begins Monday.

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