So summer’s here and your little one is going to camp. Don’t forget the bug spray, the sunscreen, and this summer, you’ll need to pack the hand sanitizer too. Even though the flu season finished with the end of school, the H1N1 virus has changed the playing field a bit.
The fact is day camps and overnight camps can be affected by the virus just as schools have been. In the US, a Scouts camp has already been affected. Closer to home, the Québec health ministry has issued guidelines to put in place at summer camps, and these guidelines have already been sent to camp directors.
Even though it’s not recommended to cancel any camp, the ministry has asked camp directors to advise parents that they should not send their child to camp if they have flu symptoms (fever, cough, headache, muscle soreness, fatigue) and keep them at home until they show no signs of flu symptoms. If a child develops flu symptoms while at camp, the parents should come to pick them up. In addition, camp directors should plan to have special reserved areas for children who develop symptoms.
Camp employees and counselors should stay at home if they’re sick. At camp, they should encourage proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, and regularly clean all surfaces, objects and equipment that are used frequently. Camps should be well prepared with the necessary supplies: soap, hand sanitizer (alcohol disinfectant), tissues, and face masks.
So, if your child is enrolled at a day camp, it’s important that they stay home if they show any signs of the flu. If they are going to be at a summer camp far from home for any length of time, you should allow for picking them up early or delaying their departure if they seem sick. After all, they won’t enjoy themselves very much if they don’t feel well.
The virus shouldn’t stop you from sending your child to camp; you just want to make sure that your child is well informed. Show them how to wash their hands properly by watching our podcast, and remind them to wash their hands frequently, or use a hand sanitizer if there is no soap and water nearby. You should also show them how to sneeze or cough into their sleeve or a tissue, and above all, tell them to let their camp counsellors know if they think they’re becoming sick.