Schools will soon be out, and summer camp season is fast approaching.  Most camps, whether overnight camps or day camps, require a camp physical to assure that children are healthy enough to participate in exercise and other physical activities.  Camps typically offer a variety of physical activities, some of which might be a new experience for your child.  Swimming, hiking, canoeing, climbing, and sports are strenuous activities.  It is important to identify any underlying medical issues that could cause a health problem.

Summer CampA camp physical is an expanded well-child exam that will evaluate the general health of the child.  Your healthcare professional will review the child’s medical history and check any pre-existing conditions the child may have, such as exercise induced asthma.  The evaluation will focus on past injuries, surgeries, and any heart problems.  Height and weight will be measured, and blood pressure, pulse, heart, and lungs will be checked.  There may be a basic vision and hearing screening.  The ears, nose, and throat will be checked as well as the child’s reflexes and coordination.  The doctor will verify that immunizations are current and note any medications needed, such as an inhaler for asthma, allergy medications, an Epi-Pen, or other prescription medications.  The camp physical may also include a urinalysis and bloodwork.  If the child will be participating in a sports camp, the medical provider may offer some tips to help your camper avoid injury.

The camp physical is a helpful tool in protecting both campers and staff from potential illness and injury.  Most camps will have their own forms and releases that must be completed and signed by the doctor.  Make sure that those specific forms are brought with the child to the exam.  Appointment times usually book up quickly as camp season approaches, so it is a good idea to schedule an exam as early as possible.