Summer Camp Health Tips for Parents06/08/13
SATURDAY, June 8 (HealthDay News) -- Regular hand washing and
proper hygiene are essential to avoiding common summer-camp health
issues such as lice, pinworm and bathing-suit dermatitis, according
to a former summer camp physician.
Dr. Alfred Scott Lea, now a professor of infectious disease at
the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, said making
sure cuts and abrasions are clean is particularly important around
lakes and rivers, where bacteria can cause potentially dangerous
"Some of what kids encounter at camp and that parents must endure -- from colds and viruses to broken bones -- is often just part of being a kid," Lea said in a university news release. "But parents can take steps to help make their child's summer as healthy and painless as possible. A little prep work, such as packing the right essentials and communicating with the camp nurse, can go a long way toward avoiding the most common problems."
Lea suggested other ways to prepare children for potential
health hazards, including:
- Focus on prevention.Be sure to pack essentials such as
sunscreen and bug spray. It's important to plan ahead for children
who are on medications or have special needs, Lea said. "A lot of
children need to bring medicines to camp for asthma,
[attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder] and seizures, just to
name a few," he said. "Make sure the nurse knows how to administer
these medicines and be sure to supply extra just to be safe. Also
alert camps to dietary needs."
- Voice concerns.Parents also should speak directly to the
camp director to discuss any worries they may have, Lea said. "If
you're especially concerned about any activities or possible
injuries, talk to the camp about what they're doing to make safety
a priority," he said. "Worrying about a child horseback riding is
normal, but you might feel better when you know your child will be
wearing a helmet."
- Be realistic.Parents should also recognize that not all camp
injuries are preventable, Lea said. "Put 300 little kids in 20
cabins, encourage energy and competitiveness, and things happen,"
he said. "Kids fall. Baseballs fly astray. Boys have sword fights
with golf clubs. No amount of preparation can stop kids from being
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers more
health and safety tips.
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