Most parents know that when you send your child off to camp it’s important to pack sunscreen (with an SPF of 30 or higher that protects against UVA/ UVB rays); insect repellant (containing less than 10 percent DEET for kids); and, of course, a water bottle. But what else should you keep in mind? We asked Ellen Lestz, MD, a pediatrician with White Plains Hospital Medical and Wellness in Armonk, to share some tips to make sure both you and your child are ready for camp.
What if my child has special health needs? Children should bring their medications to camp. “Have your doctor fill out the necessary paperwork to include the prescription directions,” Lestz says. “For children with allergies, have multiple EpiPens at the nurse’s office and with the counselors.”
Is it okay to send my child to camp if she has a cough? “If your child has a little cough or cold, it is probably okay to send them,” says Lestz. “Children with fever (a temp higher than 100.5°F) should be kept home” and be fever-free for 24 hours before returning to camp. “Also, keep your child home if they develop a rash, pink eye, sore throat, vomiting, or diarrhea,” says Lestz.
What vaccinations does my child need before attending camp? “Your child should be up to date for all-age appropriate immunizations,” says Lestz. “Children age 11 should receive their Tdap booster, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, as well as their first meningitis shot.”
How can I protect my child against Lyme, Zika, and other tick- and mosquito-borne illnesses? For tick and mosquito bites, use a combination of DEET repellant on exposed skin and wear Permethrin-treated clothing, Lestz advises. “Wear long pants tucked into the socks when walking through tall grass or hiking. For lice prevention, maintain the hygiene of your own personal items. Tell your children not to share clothing, bedding, hats, or brushes.”