AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Before your children make a splash in summer camp, doctors warn parents and children not to let their guards down.
With plenty of camps involving outdoor activities, children may not always have access to a sink.
Doctors say make sure to pack hand sanitizer.
"If you can't wash, hand-gel actually works better than washing," said Dr. Donald Hubbard, Medical Director for Neighbors Emergency Center Amarillo. "Studies have shown that you have a larger decline in germs on your hand after hand gel than washing. If you're obviously soiled, washing to get off the dirt on them would be better."
If summer camp means exploring wooded areas, the CDC says tick-borne illnesses are on the rise and recommends children partner with a buddy to check for ticks.
"You definitely want to bring mosquito repellant," said Dr. Hubbard. "If you're hiking, you have to watch out for ticks because ticks can spread several different diseases."
Doctors said keeping children hydrated will help their immune system fight off any germs from the physical contact in sporting camps.
Swimming is also a big part of summer but doctors warn of the bacteria swarming in the pool with each splash.
"I hate to tell people not to swim because it's fun," said Dr. Hubbard. "You just have to realize you're exposing yourself to a lot of bacteria. Shower after you swim. That's going to help wash the bacteria off."
The American Camp Association says five to seven percent of illnesses spread from a child coming to the first day already under the weather.
"I would say if you're already sick, you may want to stay home and not go to summer camp so you can spare everybody else from getting sick," said Dr. Hubbard.
If your child needs vaccinations before camp, contact your doctor or the City of Amarillo's Public Health Department.
No matter how many needed, the city will charge no more than $30 per child.
However, if someone can't afford to pay - they won't turn them away.