Surviving Summer Camp: Prevent Bugs From Bugging Your Kids — Naturally
Remember summer camp? It was lots of fun staying up late, eating snacks every night, and spending every day outside. What wasn’t fun was dealing with bug bites and constantly itching all summer.
Don’t let itchy bites stop your children from enjoying the outdoors and their time at camp. You also don’t have to rely on harmful chemicals to keep your kids bite-free. We discuss natural solutions to quickly treat insect bites, ways to protect your children from bug bites, and a few other DIY solutions for common summer camp pain points.
Pack to Prevent Mosquito Bites on Your Kids
One of the peskiest biting bugs that your kids may encounter at summer camp: mosquitoes. These insects are extremely prevalent and it’s understandable you want to take additional steps to protect your children from being bit.
Consider these three options to naturally prevent your kids from being bit by these and other summer pests.
- Insect repellent with Picaridin: When you’re worried about toxic chemicals it’s great to use insect repellent you know can be used on your child’s skin. Stay Away Mosquitoes is a DEET-free bug spray formulated with picaridin. It helps prevent mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, gnats, and chiggers.
- Lemon eucalyptus oil: Effective for repelling ticks and mosquitoes. This natural alternative to chemical based repellents can be found in some repellents, or you can make your own by diluting the oil and using a small spray bottle.
- Homemade bug repellent: There are countless recipes online for homemade mosquito repellent. However, they all have a similar base of beeswax and shea butter. Afterwards you can combine any of your favorite essential oils such as rosemary, lemongrass, eucalyptus or lavender.
Treating Insect Bites
You already know to send enough socks and underwear, but do you know what your child will do when they’re away from home and happen to get bit by a dozen mosquitoes after a night around the campfire? Here are a few products that can help stop the itchiness.
- Toothpaste: Mint, a common toothpaste flavor, can soothe an itch. Let your little one know that all they need to do is spread a dab over a bug bite for some quick relief.
- Aloe vera: The cooling effect of aloe provides relief to annoying mosquito bites. It’s known to be effective at reducing the red bump left behind by those pesky mosquitoes. It can also help soothe a sunburn (pack the sunscreen!).
- Tea tree oil: Considered a natural antihistamine, tea tree oil can help fight itching and infection.
Additional Pest Prevention Tips for Camp
Aside from using direct skin protection products like sprays, balms, and essential oils, there are a few additional pest prevention solutions you can use with your children
- Pack breathable long pants and light-colored long-sleeve shirts for your children to minimize exposed skin and help prevent bug bites.
- Avoid packing toiletries with heavy scents or perfumes as they tend to attract not only mosquitoes but bugs in general to the vicinity.
- Many camps are diligent about bedbugs and pest prevention, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. When kids return home, you’ll want to heat treat everything they brought with them to kill any bedbugs that might have stowed away. You can put everything directly in the dryer for 15 minutes on high heat, and use a heater box for baggage and electronics. The summer heat also offers an inexpensive solution: bag everything in plastic and leave it sitting inside a car in the hot sun for a few hours — bed bugs cannot survive temperatures over 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
DIY Remedies for Other Common Camp Complaints
Your kids won’t need to run to the nurse’s station for every bump or bruise while away at camp if you pack some standard things that can do double duty. Here are some items that can help with common camp complaints:
- Sunburn: Send along packs of plain instant oatmeal. Making the oats extra watery and rubbing an oatmeal paste on sunburned skin will ease the pain.
- Poison Ivy: Rubbing the inside of a banana peel on a rash from poison ivy, oak, or sumac can soothe skin and aid healing.
- Stomach aches: Gum can settle an upset stomach; the extra saliva you produce when chewing will neutralize stomach acid. In addition to chewing gum, mint and ginger are two herbs known for helping with tummy troubles. Send herbal teas, or flavored candies along with your camper.
- Cabin creepers: If the camp accommodations are a little too rustic, your camper will appreciate having a fresh pouch of Stay Away® Spiders. The scent of citronella and lemongrass doesn’t just repel spiders, but many of the other insects that spiders feed on as well.
- Small cuts: For small cuts or nicks, a quick swipe of chapstick over the wound will stop bleeding.
Even though all of these tips are safe and natural, make sure to check the rules and guidelines for your child’s camp so you don’t send anything that isn’t allowed.
Summer camps have so much to offer from learning new things, getting in touch with nature, making new friends, and more. Remember, well prepared is halfway there, and with these tips, your kids will be well on their way to the best summer ever!