June 2013 Health Beat

Karen’s Kolumn is written by Karen Dolley, R.N. and Grange Friend… we appreciate her knowledge and her willingness to share! 

hikers_400_clr_9598School is almost out for the summer. Many parents are planning various summer activities for their children. One of these activities might be a summer camp. Parents should research prospective camps for their children and then talk with and meet with camp officials and staff. Make sure adequate supervision will be provided. Find out how you will be notified if your child is ill. Find out how the camp will care for your child if he or she is ill.

To help prevent injuries pack protective gear like helmets and life jackets if the camp does not provide these items. Pack insect repellent containing DEET and sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher to protect against mosquitoes, ticks and the sun. A check list of things to pack is helpful and should include things like sleeping bags and bedding, extra blankets, hats and sunglasses, healthy snacks and water, hand sanitizer, and any needed medical information.

Teach kids to avoid wild animals that can carry diseases that are harmful to people. Teach kids to avoid hair to hair contact, to avoid sharing combs and brushes, and to avoid sharing hats to prevent head lice.

Campers may get sick during their time away because of the close living conditions at camps. Make sure your kids vaccinations are up to date. Getting vaccinated is one of the best ways to keep your child and other campers healthy at camp. Teach kids to wash their hands frequently with soap and water and to use a hand sanitizer. Tell children to notify camp staff if they become sick or if they notice that another camper is not feeling well. Keep your child home if he/she is sick.

Homesickness is very common. Try to involve your child in choosing a camp and in preparations for camp. Be positive about the camp experience but also be honest about homesickness. If your child has not had many sleep-overs, do practice sleep-overs with friends and family before your child goes to camp.

For more information visit www.healthychildren.org, www.cdc.gov/family/camping, or www.vaccines.gov.

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