Tips for a Safe and Healthy Summer Camp Season – CT Examiner

— Eric Walsh,
The end of school is here, and summer camp is upon us. Great news for both kids and parents who have faced pandemic-related persistent cancellations and the stress that comes along with adapting to an ever-changing environment. Camp is not only a reliable childcare option for working parents, it also improves kids’ mental and physical health, which has been significantly impacted in recent years.
Summer camp allows kids to explore the world around them, gain confidence and find their voice. Research shows that spending time in nature among trees and the fresh air can have a healing effect, especially for kids who live in urban areas. Physical activity like hiking, biking and canoeing can decrease depression and anxiety, foster good sleep habits and support a healthy weight, among many other benefits. Camp also allows kids to build relationships outside of their everyday school environment, decompress and share life experiences with their peers and camp counselors. After losing two years of socialization due to the pandemic, this kind of social interaction is more important than ever, and camp allows that to be accelerated.
While there are many documented health benefits of summer camp, sending kids to a new location this summer can worry parents. What if they don’t drink enough water? What if they have a run-in with poison oak or mosquitos? What if they get a sunburn?
As the Medical Director of Hartford Healthcare-GoHealth Urgent Care, I’ve treated kids with minor injuries and illnesses that are common among young campers. In fact, we work closely with camps across Connecticut to provide real-time access to a full range of healthcare services on a virtual basis, including COVID-19 management, allowing camps to avoid unnecessarily transporting campers and staff off-site. 
Whether your kids are attending a day camp or staying overnight, there are some steps you can take to prepare your kids so they can enjoy the many health benefits of camps, while also staying safe. Here are my tips:
Teach children to never drink from natural water sources like ponds, lakes, or streams since these water sources often contain germs that can cause serious infections.
If you’re sending your kids to camp this summer, remember to be proactive. Advanced planning will help ensure young campers are prepared for safe and healthy adventures this summer. However, kids will be kids, and accidents do happen. If your family needs immediate care for a non-life-threatening illness or injury, please don’t hesitate to visit one of our centers.
Dr. Eric Walsh is the medical director of Hartford HealthCare-GoHealth Urgent Care

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