Summer Camp Checklist for Children with Eczema
If there is one thing that you can count on in the summer, it is that kids will want to go to camp. Maybe it is for the fun, maybe it is for the comradery, or maybe it’s just because it gives kids their first real feeling of independence from their parents. For most kids, it is simple: pack them up with their clothes and toothbrush, make sure the camp has your phone number, and see them in two weeks. But when you have a child with a potentially debilitating health issue like eczema, there are extra considerations that have to be made. You might worry that the camp staff is not equipped to deal with health issues, or that there might be certain activities that could exacerbate the condition. It is wise to take some extra precautions before sending your kids out for a summer of fun. Read on for our summer camp checklist for children with eczema.
Research the camp
This is important for any parent, but especially for parents with eczema sufferers. You want to make sure that it is a nurturing and fun environment with an excellent reputation. Confirm that the camp will cater to your child’s interests and passions. For example, if you have a child who is heavily artistic, sending them to a camp with a heavy sports focus might not lead to the enriching summer experience that you are both hoping for. Make sure that the camp is equipped with the necessary facilities for your child’s eczema maintenance. Some camps only have showers available for campers, which is a problem if your child requires a daily bath or could be irritated by the harshness of the shower.
Confirm your child knows his treatment
At the age you would send your child off to summer camp, they probably already have a solid understanding of their condition and how it must be treated. But it never hurts to review! Go through, step by step, their daily eczema routine. Talk about clothes, bathing, and care for their eczema wraps. One of the benefits of summer camp is that your children will learn to have more responsibility for self-care. Just make sure that your child has all of the knowledge to maintain their eczema treatment for the entire time they are away. You may want to print out a eczema routine checklist that they can keep with them too.
Inform the camp staff about the condition
Most summer camps are equipped to deal with many types of children, but it is still important that you educate them about your child’s condition. Make sure that the medical professionals on staff are aware of your child’s eczema, and any triggers that may make it worse. Camp counselors should know exactly what is going on as well, and be able to help your child however they need. If anyone at the camp, at any level, seems to show disinterest at your attempts to inform them about eczema care of any other medical condition, this is a huge red flag that this might not be the camp to send your child to. Listen to your gut.
Be in contact
It is a given that the camp will have your contact information and will call you if necessary. But if your child does suffer from more severe forms of eczema, getting updates every few days about their condition is not unreasonable. Sending them to a camp within driving distance in case of emergencies might also be a smart precaution. This also might be the first time in your child’s life when they are out of your care. That can be remarkably stressful to any parent, let alone a parent that has taken care of their kid’s medical condition for years on end. Arranging updates with camp staff about your child can help calm your own nerves and reassure you that everything is going alright.
If necessary, look for a specialized camp
If your child suffers from severe eczema, a regular camp might not be an option for them. Thankfully there are a number of camps all over the country that are specifically designed to deal with major health issues. These camps have trained medical staff and counselors who have experience with major skin disorders and know how to handle it in a way that a regular camp wouldn’t. Another benefit of sending your child to a specialized camp is that they will meet other children who suffer from skin conditions like theirs. Dealing with eczema can be isolating for anyone, but especially for a child. Despite best efforts of school staff, bullies and other kids often pick on people who are “different”. For your kid, discovering that there are other people just like them in the world can be a huge confidence boost, and interacting with others their age who know exactly what it is like to deal with eczema can be a huge relief.
Are you sending your children off to summer camp? How are you preparing in advance? We would love to hear your tips – please share them in the comments.