Preparing Tweens for Camp and Beyond
School will soon be out for the summer, and many tweens and teens will be eagerly preparing for camp, church mission trips, vacation, a new summer job, or just relaxing. Whatever their activities may be, it is a good idea to think ahead and be prepared for all of their medication needs.
A first aid kit for the car and camp is a must for summer safety. There are a lot of options whether purchasing a ready-made kit or putting one together yourself. Be sure to ask your pharmacist for recommendations on the best kit for your needs. Also, the American Red Cross has instructions on how to put together your own first aid kit at www.redcross.org. If you already have a first aid kit, check to be sure nothing has expired. Throw the expired items away and replace them with in-date essentials. Do not forget to take a first aid kit with you whether taking a trip to the park or across the country!
If your child is headed to summer camp or on a mission trip, most likely they will spend a lot of time outdoors. It is a good idea to pack sunscreen, mosquito repellent and a topical hydrocortisone cream to treat poison ivy or bug bites. Look for repellents with an active ingredient such as DEET and sunscreen with an adequate SPF for swimming and outdoor sports. Nothing ruins a great time at camp faster than a severe sunburn or poison ivy!
Many children may need to take prescription medications with them while traveling. Send along a list of all medications, medical conditions, allergies, and healthcare provider information. Make sure all medications are adequately labeled with the child’s name, dosing instructions, and any special storage information. Talk with the camp nurse to be certain they know how to administer any medications and send along a little extra just to be safe. If sending inhalers or Epi-Pens, check the expiration dates. Also alert the camp to any special dietary needs.
If your tween or teen is traveling internationally during the summer, special immunizations may be required depending on the destination. Go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website to find out if any vaccinations or anti-malarial drugs are needed prior to travel to a foreign country. Be sure all routine immunizations are up to date. Ask your pediatrician or pharmacist for a copy of your child’s immunization record.
When traveling by air, do not put medications in checked luggage. Be sure to store those in a carry-on bag. Ensure proper labels are on each bottle of medication, even over-the-counter ones. Do not put any medications in unlabeled containers. It is important to follow the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) guidelines for passengers traveling with prescription medications. A list of all guidelines can be found at www.tsa.gov. If traveling with medications that require refrigeration, such as insulin, pack a small cooler with a cold pack (not frozen). Some insulin can be stored at room temperature but may only be good for 28 days. Check with your pharmacists for the best way to store your child’s insulin for travel.
Summertime travel can be a fantastic adventure for kids. Parents can take steps to ensure they get to their destination with everything they need. A little prep work, such as packing the right essentials and communicating with your pediatrician or pharmacist, can go a long way towards making their summer one to remember!