For most children, camp can be a fun-filled time, but it's important to take the necessary steps in advance to promote a safe and healthy summer.
On Thursday's The Xtra to discuss camp health and offer five tips to reduce the risk of injury and illness
is nurse practitioner Abby Pippin from MinuteClinic. Pippin offers these tips:
1) Involve your child in the camp choice
• A healthy camp experience begins at home
• Give your child options and make sure the camp is an appropriate match for their interests, level of physical fitness and health
• For instance, if your child is not a strong swimmer, don't book a camp that offers a lot of water activities like canoeing and sailing because they may struggle with passing a swim test that would prevent them from participating in those activities
2) Obtain a camp physical
• Have your child visit the doctor
• A physical may be required by some camps but it's a good idea regardless to make sure your child is able to safely participate
• This is for your child's health as well as the health of the other campers and counselors
• Check that vaccines are up to date
• And perform a physical exam to look for any recent illnesses or physical conditions that could be an issue
3) Discuss allergies and dietary needs in advance
• If your child has food allergies or requires a special diet, discuss this with the camp ahead of time and again when you arrive
• If your child is allergic to stinging insects; make sure he or she has appropriate emergency relief like an Epi pen. And if not, that the counselor has one at all times and knows how to use it.
4) Pack sturdy footwear
• Foot injuries - twisted ankles, blisters and cuts - are probably the most common camp injury
• Pack only closed toe shoes — athletic shoes for sports; good boots for hiking
• Water or deck shoes for the pool vs. flip flops to prevent slips
5) Don't forget sunblock, insect repellent and a water bottle
• Sunblock: Use broad spectrum that blocks UB and UV rays. Recommended is an SPF of 30 which blocks 97 percent of UVA rays. A higher SPF, 50 for instance, only blocks an additional 1 to 2 percent of rays, so it's probably not necessary.
• Insect repellant: With DEET is strongest, but you may prefer something without DEET that has natural ingredients like herbal scents and citronella oil
• Water bottle: Your child should have this at all times