Whether it’s your child’s first summer going away to camp, or they proudly wear their “Camp Tuckahoe, Tyler Hill, or Agawam” shirt as a badge of honor – completing their pre-camp medical physical is an important part of ending the school year, and starting their send off. Collecting standardized health and medical records have been protocol since the 1930s when Boy Scouts of America enacted their Annual Health and Medical Record (AHMR). This authorization and health history document was signed by both legal guardian and licensed physician1 to ensure a healthy start to activities.
Swimming, hiking on rough terrain, and hours spent in the sun make camp activities quite strenuous, requiring added energy that may not have been expended during the school year. To ensure your child is in healthy form to participate, take them to their doctor or an urgent care that does camp screenings for a thorough physical examination. Extra stress on the muscles and joints can be a recipe for injury; a physician will access their current physical health, and past issues before giving the green light for camp fun. If your child has a pre-existing condition such as asthma, or eyesight troubles, this visit is a great opportunity to prescribe an inhaler2, or athletic glasses. Your pediatrician or urgent care doctor may also recommend tips and tricks to prevent sports injuries if your child is en route to soccer, lacrosse, or football camp.
If camp is on the horizon for your child this summer, bring their comprehensive immunization history with you to the doctor. The United States takes a pretty aggressive approach to immunization for children; after all, the implementation of these practices is largely responsible for deterring several highly-communicable diseases (like measles, mumps, and rubella) that were once part of the mainstream.3
The American Camp Association (ACA) requires that at minimum campers be immunized against tetanus, mumps, measles, rubella, polio, pertussis (whooping cough), and diphtheria to prevent the spread of these diseases.4 Sometimes, if a child has religious or medical reasons for not being immunized, or a counselor is coming from a country where other diseases are present, a child may contract illness.
Camp’s picturesque and iconic bunks are places for making lasting memories – but they are close quarters where germs may spread. For this reason, sleepaway camps should have knowledgeable healthcare experts on staff to detect symptoms of common illnesses, as well as procedures in place should they arise.
At camp, children learn about wilderness safety and fire safety – but, what about putting medical precautions in place before they jet off? According to Mercy Health, each year hundreds of children end up in the E.R. due to undiagnosed heart, lung, neurological or musculoskeletal problems lingering below the surface. Being proactive by participating in a pre-camp physical that takes stock of your child’s overall health, including cardiac, respiratory, joint and vision testing will give peace of mind to parent and child, alike.5
Carpools, dance class, and soccer practice don’t leave a lot of downtime for marking off the necessary pre-camp checklist. Luckily, facilities like Tots N’ Teens Pediatric Urgent Care offer a quick and painless option for busy families. For more information, call 210-267-5411. Register online to make your visit even more seamless.