Is your child headed to camp? Make sure you pack these essentials

If your child is headed off to summer camp, Meredith Stidham, a family nurse practitioner with CVS Minute Clinic in Marietta, Georgia, has some camp must-haves.

First up on her list is a checkup.

"I think it's always a good idea to get a physical before you go to camp to make sure you're healthy," Stidham says. "Some kids have some pretty severe allergies, things that they need medication for, like EpiPens, and a lot of those have to do with things that are outside, like bee stings or maybe food allergies.  So, having a physical to really go through those allergies, and then make sure that the parents and the kid are prepared for it, what to happen in those emergency situations.  That way they can talk with the camp ahead of time."

Next up, Stidham says, talk about the importance of staying hydrated.

"A lot of kids don't like to drink water, or they're too busy doing other fun things that they just forget to drink water," she says.  "So, making sure they have a fun water bottle, or one that they like with them, is important, so that they're staying hydrated."

Young girls stands on steps outside her summer camp. She is wearing a t-shirt that says "camp" and is smiling, with her hands on her hips. She looks happy.

13-year-old Emerson Frost of Marietta, Georgia, was disappointed when her camp was cancelled last summer because of the pandemic. This year, she'll return to camp fully vaccinated. (Emerson family photo)

Sun protection is another must.

"You want to get a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB (rays), at least a 30 SPF up to 50 SPF," Stidham says. "Anything over 50 doesn't really help that much."

Go over when use sunblock or sunscreen and when to reapply it.

"Hopefully they don't get sunburned," she says.  "They're using that sunblock.  But, if that happens, aloe can be really soothing to help with a sore sunburn."

And, finally, Stidham says, pack a kid-safe bug repellant.

"The bugs sprays ones with DEET are the most powerful," she says.  "But, with that, I want to make sure you're not going to have any sensitivities to it.  So, just make sure you have your campers try those things out before they go to camp."