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Foot health for vacation period

You remember when…

 

Vacation time rolls around and all that’s on your mind is camp! Oh you can’t wait…the idea of playing all day, learning new techniques in sports and other activities, and most important making new friends. Life can’t get better.

 

In talking to my god-daughter’s mom the reality was presented to me, vacation camps are expensive and the vacation period is long. The age of the child is also a factor in terms of their eligibility to enter some camps.

 

Summer camp provides experiences that challenge children to make the right choices in talking, thinking, and behaving. This is an opportunity for your child to explore a world bigger than his/her neighbourhood and a chance for you and your child to practise “letting go.” Letting go allows children to develop and display a stronger sense of self, make new friends, develop new social skills, learn about teamwork, be creative, and more.

Decisions about camp like where to go and what to pack should be a joint venture, keeping in mind your child’s maturity. If your child feels a part of the decision-making process, his/her chances of having a positive experience will improve.

At the Camp

 

It’s critical to train your kids to wear slippers at home at all times, but the footwear and hygiene practices at camp are even more critical. Here are some tips both you and the kids need to follow:

 

  • Ensuring that they sanitise their feet properly after using a public pool or shower is key.
  • Wearing the right type of footwear to suit the conditions at the camp site.
  • Inspecting feet daily to ensure that no fungal infections surface.

The heat these days is tremendous, and given kids are running up and down, in many cases sweating, their feet sweat too.  It’s so hard to get it right. It’s too hot for socks with running shoes. Crocs are a good option, but not great for running in. Some summer camps require closed toed shoes so flip flops are out of the question.  And what if it rains? Sandals and slippers can get slippery and the feet extremely wet and muddy, predisposing to bacteria and infections.

Depending on the weather, you need to select sneakers or sandals with good traction.

With Juvenile Diabetics in Mind

The Diabetes Association of Trinidad and Tobago hosts an annual camp for children living with diabetes. But even if your child is not at such a camp, beaches and being barefooted, can pose a challenge for those with diabetes. An injury or burn to the foot from walking on hot sand or hot pavements, glass or broken shells in the sand, or an insect bite can happen easily during the long vacation period. After all, they want to enjoy all the fun things too.

While sandals may be popular during this period, they can leave feet unprotected from these potential risks. Any type of break in the skin has the potential of getting infected unless precautions are taken.

The following tips would help you to protect your child’s feet and ease your stress:

  • Keep blood sugar levels in the acceptable range
  • Avoid walking barefooted
  • Buy shoes that fit comfortably
  • Wash feet daily
  • Use lotion on feet to keep skin smooth and hydrated
  • Keep toenails trimmed
  • If your child gets a cut, insect bite or blister, give proper care and make sure it heals quickly

Sun Protection

Given that we experience warm weather all year round, it’s important to remember that feet face some of the greatest exposure to the sun than any other body parts. It is important to cover the tops and sides of the feet thoroughly with sunscreen, and continue reapplying when you treat the rest of the skin. There’s nothing worse at the end of a play day, beach lime or pool day than sunburned tops of the feet!

It is important to approach foot care much like dental care; for children, an ounce of prevention is worth a lifetime of healthy, happy feet. Focusing on proper support in shoes, and using products like arch supports and comfort insoles when playing sports, is much like a helmet or mouth guard, and are steps to ensure that children’s feet do not develop long term problems.

Your feet mirror your general health . . . cherish them!

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