Summer’s here and the kids — many parents, too — can’t wait for camp. However, before you pack them up and ship them off, take a few steps to reduce the chance that trip will be ruined by a medical or medication emergency.
“Camps won’t take outdated meds,” said Dr. Jackie Eghrari-Sabet, of Family Allergy & Asthma Care in Gaithersburg, Md. “Time after time I have parents call and ask for meds that have been pulled off the market, that may no longer be appropriate because of the child’s age, or they ask for meds when I haven’t seen the child in more than a year. Things can really change in a year, so before you pack for camp, take the child in for a physical.”
Dr. Jackie said you should also take time to review what happened last summer. Even if your child had a milk allergy problem a year ago, that may not be the case now. They may have spent all winter on asthma meds but may not need them now, so new testing may be in order.
Here’s another good reason to check with the doctor.
“If you think your child has a problem, i.e. an allergy to penicillin or bee stings, get an evaluation before camping,” Dr. Jackie said. “Don’t send them off guessing they might have those issues.”
Make certain you keep immunizations current. According to Dr. Jackie, there are a lot of necessary booster shots these days.
“We saw a huge increase in whooping cough cases this spring,” she said. “This can easily be avoided with immunizations and up-to-date boosters.”
Never send the kids off without reviewing the basics of safe, healthy camping. Teach them how to recognize the signs of heat stroke. Warn them about the risks of infections from bacteria like MRSA, which can run rampant in showers and locker rooms. And stress the importance of washing their hands! Also, don’t forget sunscreen and bike helmets.
Finally remember, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. If you know the kids always come home with head lice, send them to camp with the treatment in hand and tell them where not to lay their heads.