Summer camp is a great way to get your kids to meet new friends and have new experiences. With so many kids packed into a small space, however, it’s also a breeding ground for disease. Luckily, teaching your child to practice good hygiene and take the right precautions can keep them up and running, rather than in the cabin with a sore throat. The best medicine is prevention, so make sure you talk with your kids about these health tips to prevent sickness at camp.
It’s summer, and while that may mean it’s not flu season, it does mean heat, sweat, and – worst of all – bugs. Infections can spread in many ways through the summer, and part of the risk comes from how much time your child spends outside. Microbes thrive in the soil and water so practicing good hygiene is key.
Teach your kids to wash their hands regularly throughout the day. Not just their hands either – if they’re playing sports or hiking, make sure they wash their arms up to and past the elbows as well. Keeping clean is the best way to prevent disease, so be sure to pack some alcohol-based hand sanitizer in their bags.
Unless you’re going to be there as a chaperone, make sure your child understands the importance of good hygiene. If they’re playing group sports, make sure they sanitize equipment immediately before and after use. Pack some disposable wipes – antibacterial of course – so they can wipe gear down on the fly.
Showers are very important to good hygiene. If your kids are going to be running around all day, sweating like crazy, make sure they shower daily – sometimes twice if it’s been a particularly messy day. Shower with hot water, and make sure you’re using antimicrobial soaps or body wash that can kill infectious diseases. Skin-to-skin infections are a common concern for parents at camps, so make sure your child understands how important this is.
Summer is hot, and if our bodies are thirsty or aren’t fed properly, that can weaken our immune system. Make sure your kids have plenty of water for staying hydrated in the hot summer sun. Also, make sure they aren’t loaded down with junk-food snacks, their bodies need the best energy to stay active and healthy in the fast-paced camp environment.
Any wounds or injuries need to be covered with clean bandages immediately. This can reduce the risk of infection from the environment – or other campers – significantly. If you won’t be there, check with the camp to make sure there’s a nurse onsite so your child will be taken care of.
Most camps decide how to handle illness based on how contagious the infection is. That said, if someone’s kid is sick before they arrive, they can infect other campers unknowingly. If you know – or suspect – your child is sick, it’s best to keep them home to let them recover. Not only is that what the camp counselors will do, but it helps keep everyone else healthy too.