The Swine Flu (H1N1) is certainly not taking a vacation this summer in the Northern Hemisphere. H1N1 outbreaks have caused numerous children’s summer camps to close across the US and Canada.  When you think about it, a summer camp is the perfect breeding ground for contagious diseases.  I remember years ago being a camp nurse at a diabetic camp for kids – I came home with pink eye, a cold and GI distress after a two-week stint!
Summer Camp_Flu

New Camp Activity? Dispensing Hand Sanitizer at Camp

Who is closing?

The majority of camps are those for children with special needs.

•    The American Lung Association has advised its affiliated camps to close. The decision came after four campers were hospitalized when they became sick at an affiliated camp in Julian, Calif., said Heather Grzelka, spokeswoman for the Washington-based Lung Association. The American Lung Association of the Southwest called off three summer camps — the Champ Camp, plus camps in Tooele, Utah, and Reno, Nev. All were scheduled for July.
•    Officials at summer camps in areas across Canada are screening new campers for signs of swine flu, after three Ontario camps reported that kids there had become sick with the worrisome flu. Health officials say more than 200 children at camps across Ontario have developed symptoms of H1N1. Only a small number of the cases are laboratory confirmed as swine flu, but many of the other campers are assumed to have contracted H1N1, based on their symptoms.
•    Seven children and three adults attending a Minnesota camp for kids with muscular dystrophy contracted swine flu, but organizers say all had mild cases and recovered. The national Muscular Dystrophy Association decided to cancel dozens of its remaining summer camps across the country after also suspecting cases in Utah and Pennsylvania.

•    The University of Northern Colorado in Greeley ended a camp for students in gifted and talented classes Monday after 10 students and three staffers showed flu-like symptoms. Health officials said that five people tested positive for swine flu.

Los Angeles Times

Sending your kids to camp – what to do?

It is all about hygiene.
•    Educate your kids about good hygiene – hand washing, cough hygiene and not touching their face (good luck on that one!).  Give them a small bottle of hand sanitizers for their pocket, which will help them when they can’t wash their hands.

The PA Department of Health (issued June 15) has a nice short word document that can be downloaded and gives guidance to family and camp officials……/guidance_for_camps_final.doc