Disclaimer: I received promotional consideration from Minute Clinic to discuss keeping kids healthy at camp, but all opinions are my own.
School’s out for the summer!!!
Finally. Finally we made it through the last few days of school. (OK, we aren’t completely there, but Jones is done and Shoo has a short day today.)
Now it’s time to focus on summer fun. Pools. Hiking. Visits to museums, zoos, and amusement parks. Camps. Sunburns. Poison Ivy. Bug bites.
Yeah, I know those last three things aren’t fun, but they often go hand in hand with summer fun, especially summer fun outdoors and at camp. So here are five tips for keeping your kids healthy and safe this summer.
Get your camper (or you!) a camp physical.
Most camps require this, but even if they don’t, it’s a good idea to make sure your camper is healthy and has all up to date immunizations and prescriptions. Forgot to make an appointment with your pediatrician? (Ours takes WEEKS for physicals.) Minute Clinic can help you out! They offer walk in camp physicals with a nurse practitioner or a physician. When I was supposed to go to Cub Scout camp a few years ago, Minute Clinic saved me because I didn’t realize *I* needed a physical until the last minute.
Teach your kids how to use sunblock.
Most kids don’t love sunblock and really don’t love reapplying. But explain to your kids how much and how often they should use it. I let my kids help me pick it out because they are picky about how the various blocks smell. As long as it’s broad spectrum coverage, I’m ok with them choosing one that they’ll actually use. (And we go through a ton of sunblock here with the combination of fair skin and soccer and running, but remember to get new sunblock each year.) Also, remind them that the if their shadow is shorter than them, then their UV exposure is high!
Teach your kids about poison ivy and poison oak.
We all know the saying: leaves of 3, let them be. But do you REALLY know what it looks like? Thanks to google images/flickr, there’s no problem showing your kids exactly what they look like!
Spotting Poison Ivy: Poison ivy has three pointed leaves that can grow as bush or a vine. These leaves change color with the seasons:
- Reddish in the spring
- Green in the summer
- Yellow, orange or red in the fall
Spotting Poison Oak: Poison oak has three leaves shaped in lobes resembling those of an oak tree. Poison oak grows in low shrubs as long vines.
Remind them that if they think they’ve encountered it to wash the area as soon as possible with soap and water and to make sure they scrub under their nails to avoid spreading the oils to other body parts! (If you are too late and a rash develops, Minute Clinic can recommend the right over-the-counter treatments and write prescriptions when medically appropriate to treat poison ivy and oak.)
Make hydration easy.
We carry reusable water bottles pretty much wherever we go. I have a huge selection, so I let the kids choose which one they want each day. (Shoo always chooses the one I got when I visited IMG Academy with Gatorade LOL). I don’t know what most camps policies are, but we were expected to take them for Cub Scout camp. Water goes a long ways towards keeping your kids healthy during the summer!
Explain how to dress appropriately.
There are clothing choices that help keep your child safer in specific situations. I always remind my kids to wear closed shoes and long pants when hiking. This minimizes exposure to poison ivy and oak, helps keep ticks out of their favorite hiding places, and protects their feet from rough terrain. For swimming, my kids ALWAYS wear rash guards. (I have them so well trained they even choose to wear them indoor pools LOL). I make an effort to get them wear hats, but having the really well trained when they were toddlers, it’s much more hit or miss with a teen, sigh.
My kids are only going to local camps this year, but I know it won’t be long until they head off to sleep away camp of some sort for a week or two each summer. But honestly, these tips are useful even when they aren’t at camp. Jones went on a field trip to a water park on Wednesday and came home burned because he did not reapply his sunblock (luckily he wears a rash guard so it was mostly just his forearms and cheeks.) If I’d sent him with a hat or been more specific about when to reapply, the problem could have been avoided.
Do your kids go to camp? What tips would you add to my list to keep kids healthy?
Disclaimer: I received compensation from Minute Clinic for this post, but all opinions and suggestions are my own.