Preparation Points

A camp’s (EAP) should include guidelines on a number of topic areas for general camper and staff safety. A portion of this plan includes a written camp medical policy addressing daily health supervision, infection control, handling of health emergencies and accidents, available ambulance services, provision for medical services and the name of the on-site health supervisor, as required in section 430.159(E) of the Massachusetts Board of Health document.

All staff members should receive a copy of this medical policy as well as training in infection control procedures following OSHA standards.

In addition, parents of campers should receive information pertaining to camp policies on the care of mildly ill campers, emergency health care procedures and medication dispensing practices.

For those campers requiring the use of medication during their camp stay, the Massachusetts Board of Health document, section 430.160, outlines required procedures for storage and administration of any such medication.

In general, all medications must be in their original labeled containers or packages, stored in a locked cabinet or non-removable locked box in the refrigerator, for those medications requiring refrigeration.

These medications may only be administered by the camp’s health consultant or health supervisor, under the direction of the health consultant, as described in section 430.159.

The health care staff must closely monitor the storage and administration of medications in an effort to prevent sharing of medications amongst campers or misguided use of a medication by an individual camper.

The health consultant must maintain a list of all medications administered at the camp. This list should include the camper’s name, date of administration, medication administered, quantity administered, and any additional comments. These records should be held at least three years following the last entry date.

In addition, section 430.160(D) describes proper procedures for destruction of medications that are no longer needed during a camper’s stay.

Staff members should be aware of common injuries and illness that may arise during the camp season. In addition, staff members should be familiar with signs and symptoms of these conditions so they may provide appropriate referral to the camp’s health supervisor.

Common injuries include cuts and abrasions, sprains and strains, splinters, fractures, and concussions. First Aid kits should be accessible to staff members and contain, at minimum, the following supplies: sterile gauze, protective gloves, a one-way valve CPR mask, roller bandages, bandage scissors, adhesive tape, non-perfumed soap, a variety of bandaids, antibacterial ointment, tweezers, a triangular bandage and/or sling and a cold pack.

Common illnesses, such as gastroenteritis, upper respiratory conditions, the common cold, swimmer’s ear, contact dermatitis and nonspecific coughs are likely to arise during a camp session.

Preventive measures, such as frequent hand washing, should be followed in an effort to avoid the spread of germs amongst campers and staff.

According to 430.157 and 430.158 of the Massachusetts Board of Health document, camp operators are responsible for reporting the outbreak of any communicable disease, suspected case of food poisoning, or any illness accompanied by prominent signs of fever, rash, diarrhea, sore throat, vomiting, or jaundice to their local board of health.

Other concerns are environmental in nature, such as heat conditions or lightening safety awareness. Heat illness most likely (but not always) occurs in times of increased temperature (80 degrees) and increased humidity (70%).

The higher the heat index reading, the more at risk campers are for sustaining heat illness. During this situation the camp staff must look at alternate activities, clothing choices, and policies on hydration. A rule of thumb is to drink 8 oz (one cup) of water every 20 to 30 minutes.

In addition, counselors should be able to recognize conditions of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Policies and procedures should be reviewed regarding how to protect campers and staff from lightening emergencies. Using the flash to bang theory will assist staff in determining when to end activities or move to a safe environment.

It is not uncommon for campers, as well as the counseling staff, to come in contact with a plant induced poisoning (poison ivy, oak or sumac). Counselors should be prepared to recognize the possible reactions to this problem.

Two other problems that may ruin a camper’s experience are a debilitating sunburn or an allergic reaction to something that results in anaphylactic shock.

Sunburns are the most common burns and are usually first or second degree in nature. Counselors must be aware of this possibility and insist on a daily schedule of correct clothing and sunscreen application.

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