Some parents ask us to use last year’s medical form. We can’t do that. We REQUIRE a new medical form every year with updated immunization information, and the provincial or private health card number, version code and expiry date.
Please explain to your child that the only medications they may keep in the cabin and self-administer are inhalers for asthma, epi-pens, ointments and creams. Please assure them that our medical staff that our medical staff are very careful to keep medications confidential. If your child needs an inhaler, send at least two. One stays with the child, the other (labelled)} goes to the Med Lodge in case the first one gets lost. If your child requires an Epi-Pen, please read the Life-threatening Allergies section below.
Without receiving an up-to-date completed Medical Form we are BY LAW not allowed to provide any medical treatment for your child.
Medications at Camp
We do not allow campers to keep or take any medications in their cabins. Why?
Camp counsellors cannot be responsible for administering medications.
Because of the potential for overdose.
Even the most responsible children can easily forget to take their pills.
Please explain to your child that the only medication he/she may keep in the cabin and self-administer is an inhaler for asthma and/or an EpiPen, and that our nurses are very careful to keep medications confidential. If your child needs an inhaler, send at least two. One stays with the child, the other (labeled) goes to the Med Lodge in case the first one gets lost. If your child requires an EpiPen, please read the Life-Threatening Allergies section this should be a hyper-link.
All medications must be stored in and administered by our Med Lodge. If your child is coming to camp with medications, label them and give them to the bus counsellor. If your child is flying to Toronto, tell him/her to give medications to our staff at Toronto airport. If you are driving your child to camp please bring any medications to the nurse at the Med Lodge.
We ask that you have your child’s oral medications that are in pill, capsule, or caplet form pre‐packaged in “bubble packs” or “blister packs” by your local pharmacy. This ensures our efficient tracking that your child has received his/her medication. Most pharmacies will provide this service upon request.
Don’t send over-the-counter medications “just in case.” We stock plenty of Advil, Claritin, Gravol, etc.
Camp staff cannot accept verbal medical information. After you have submitted your online Medical Form, if you need to update your camper’s medical info, email email@example.com (Ian our Office Manager) and he will pass the confidential information on to our Med Lodge.
When You'll Hear from the Med Lodge
For the most part you will not hear from camp’s Med Lodge while your child is at camp; however there are a few situations when one of the camp medical staff may need to contact home during the summer. For this reason, please make sure to provide camp with the most up to date contact information.
We strive to ensure that every camper has a healthy and safe stay at camp, but at times accidents happen and kids do get sick no matter how careful we are. The Med Lodge will call to inform you of any significantly irregular medical situations. Some examples of this may include incidents where the Doctor prescribes oral antibiotics or other medications that your child does not normally take, when a child needs to go to the hospital or dentist, or unusually long illnesses.
Many of the issues we deal with at camp do not require a phone call home. These may include the prescribing of some oral medications such as antihistamines, topical creams or lotions, minor cuts and scrapes, minor colds or short term illness that do not require medication.
When we do call home, we will make several attempts to reach you, including cell numbers, and will leave a detailed message on voicemail if necessary.
We hate lice. Unfortunately they rear their nasty little heads at schools and camps regardless of cleanliness or good hygiene habits. We expect you to check your campers for lice just before camp, treat them if they have lice, and tell us so we can do the necessary follow-up.
In order to keep lice out of camp we hire lice professionals to check every camper (and staff) on Day One of each session.
If your child is found to have lice, we will phone and give you two choices: 1) You can hire and pay our lice professionals to treat your child at camp, or 2) You can bring your child home for treatment.
If we cannot reach you on the phone, we will have the professionals treat your child and invoice you. We do this because we have learned (the hard way!) that even our camp doctors and nurses cannot adequately check or treat for lice.
It is unfortunate that we lack the skills to check and adequately treat for lice, and we understand that some parents may resist paying outside professionals for this service, but we do insist on it in the event of someone being found to have lice because we are not willing to risk spreading lice through camp.
(Our experience is that professional lice treatment requires three treatments over several weeks for a total cost of between $150 and $300 Canadian. Of course we do everything in our power to keep treatment costs down but we are not negotiable on this because we cannot allow lice to spread through camp.)
The “lice ladies” advise us that putting a few drops of tea tree oil (available at health food stores) in a medium size bottle of shampoo is good lice prevention.
Life Threatening Allergies
There are children at camp with life threatening food allergies. Please help us keep them safe: DO NOT SEND YOUR CHILD ON THE CAMP BUS WITH ANY FOODS CONTAINING PEANUTS OR OTHER NUTS. Because of children with life-threatening allergies to peanut butter, nuts and seeds, our dining hall does not serve peanut, nut or seed products.
If your child is seriously allergic: TELL US! Make sure the allergy info is on the Medical Form and e-mail or phone Mara before camp to make an allergy safety plan for your child (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If your child has a life-threatening allergy, we REQUIRE that they come to camp with 3 EpiPens. It probably makes sense for the child to wear one EpiPen in a fanny pack, and for the counsellor and the Med Lodge to keep the other two.
The specifics of this arrangement are best determined in a personal conversation with Mara. (If you do not send 3 EpiPens for your seriously allergic child, we will buy them and bill you.) Because we can control exposure to most allergens, we send campers who are anaphylactic to peanuts, nuts, seeds etc. on canoe trips, always with satellite phone, highly trained 1st aiders and multiple doses of epinephrine.
But we cannot control exposure to wasps, soy isolates, sunflower oil, dairy and eggs; so campers who are anaphylactic to those do NOT go on trip.
If Your Child has ADD or ADHD
The most common difficulty regarding children with ADD/ADHD at camp is the "drug-free holiday". The thinking was that children might experience desired growth spurts during the summer.
Both in the social climate of the cabin, and at activities, children who benefit from these medications will struggle to focus, control impulses, and use their social skills if not on their medication while at camp. The 24 hour-a-day highly stimulating, social “pressure cooker” of camp is hard for them.
Camp is not the time to try a new medication. This should always be done at home and under the supervision of the prescribing doctor.
Pediatricians and child psychologists are not always familiar with camp and can underestimate the need for continued medication while a child is at camp. A kid can't make use of what camp has to offer if she/he can't make sense of and focus on the world around them. We all want kids to have a fresh start making friends at camp. It's very hard to make friends after a negative start.
The difficulty with this thinking is that, if anything, children need to be able to pay attention, follow directions and participate even more at camp than at school.
This isn't fair to a child with ADD/ADHD, because their difficulty isn't in their control – it's neurological. Making camp a "medication vacation" may hurt that child. If you are considering a "drug-free holiday" for your child with ADD/ADHD, please discuss this with Joanne before camp.
The medications used in treating children with ADD/ADHD are water-soluble; they are not stored in the body, but are excreted by sweating & urinating. At camp in the summer, when children are more active and the weather is warmer, they might need slightly more medication. Parents should discuss this with the prescribing physician. Dosages for school may not be adequate for camp.
Another factor to consider with regard to camp is a small, late afternoon dose. At home, children have “solo time” to decompress in the evening, but at camp it is important for children to be able to maintain strong attention, use impulse control, follow directions and participate after dinner. A small dose around 4:30 pm helps accomplish this. The dose should be small enough to not interfere with dinner and bedtime. Please discuss this with the prescribing physician. Children on stimulants often have a suppressed appetite. When the medication wears off at 8:30 or 9:00 pm, they need a snack. This is not a problem at camp, since we give all campers snack every evening at 8:30 or 9:00 pm.
Orthodontic Events at Camp
Kids with braces sometimes experience broken or unattached wires at camp. We’ve been assured by orthodontists that in the time span of orthodontic treatment, a few weeks without the wires attached is no big deal, so when brace wires break at camp, we cut them for the child’s comfort, using proper orthodontic tools.
Vegetarian & Allergy Diets
We have an excellent vegetarian menu, and accommodate food allergies, gluten, and lactose free diets - with advance info. For lactose intolerant children, don't send lactose free milk, we supply it. If your child is seriously allergic: TELL US! Make sure the allergy info is on the Camper Information Form and in addition, for your child’s safety, e-mail or phone Mara before camp to make an allergy safety plan for your child (email@example.com).
We constantly tell campers that being sun-safe is a healthy necessity. We provide sunscreen at every outdoor activity and we often remind everyone to wear hats. But our experience is that many children are extremely resistant to hats and sunscreen. Please educate your children about the dangers of sun exposure. Send hats and sunscreen and tell your children that you expect them to come home with the sunscreen all used up and having worn hats so much that they have no tan.