HEALTHY LIVING: It's time for summer physical exams

Published on Monday, 7 May 2018 19:37
Written by Robert Holzhauer, PA-C

Bristol Hospital’s Med-Help Urgent Care

The recent summer-like temperatures we experienced last week should serve as a reminder to parents about physicals for their children who plan on attending summer camp.

Most summer camps require children to get a physical before they arrive. The physicals assure that your child is healthy enough to attend camp and take part in numerous camp activities like hiking, swimming, canoeing and summer sports. The goal with the summer camp physical is simple-your health care provider wants to reduce the risk of any illness or injury while your child is away from home.

Like the pre-season sports physicals that are mandatory for the school fall and sports seasons, your provider will start the physical by screening for any pre-existing conditions. One of the more common concerns-especially for summer sports activities-is asthma. Even if you feel that your child is not seriously affected by asthma or has not had an asthma attack for a long time, you should make your provider aware of this condition. A child with asthma should still be able to attend summer camp, but just may need to carry an inhaler. The staff at the camp also should be made aware about your child’s asthma in case an inhaler is needed.

The camp physical also will include reviewing your child’s entire medical history. This is important to identify any potential health problems and how your child should identify any signs or symptoms and seek medical assistance at camp. The physical also is a great opportunity for your provider to provide some safety and wellness tips to prevent any injuries. The components of your child’s camp physical will include:

•    Reviewing your child’s medical history

•    Revising your child’s use of prescriptions, vitamins or dietary supplements

•    Checking the heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose and throat

•    Recording height and weight

•    Vision check

•    Testing all major joints, strength and flexibility

Depending on the results of your child’s physical, your provider will sign a form that is required by the camp or school that allows your child to attend camp and take part in sport activities. However, your provider may request a follow-up exam, additional testing or specific treatment for a medical problem. Even with any pre-existing or conditions found in the exam, your provider may still allow your child to attend camp but with restrictions limiting their participation in certain sports or activities.

Shortly before your child starts camp, I would stress that any medications that need to be given to your child during camp hours, should be brought to the camp nurse/health care provider with the instructions on time of administration and the correct dosage. Parents also should reiterate to the camp medical staff, any allergies their child may have.

There also are other steps that parents can take to ensure that a younger child stays happy and safe at camp this summer.

•    Pack plenty of sunscreen

•    Pack a favorite stuffed animal or blanket to remind your child of home if they start to miss you

•    Send them letters, emails or texts to remind them that that you are always thinking of them

Robert Holzhauer, PA-C, is a physician assistant with Bristol Hospital’s Med-Help Urgent Care located at 539 Farmington Ave in Bristol. Camp physicals are a self-pay service and only cost $75 each. For more information on Bristol Hospital’s Med-Help Urgent Care, please call 860-314-6046 or visit

Posted in New Britain Herald, General News on Monday, 7 May 2018 19:37. Updated: Monday, 7 May 2018 19:39.