Flu fears at summer camp

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With several Ontario children's camps experiencing problems with sick campers it would not be too much of a surprise if many parents refrain from sending their children this summer out of fears they may contract the H1N1 virus.
The number of camps reporting flu outbreaks increased to 10 by Friday as public health officials confirmed that more camps were being investigated. This has some wondering if the camps should be closed until the latest fears of a global pandemic subside.
Although the outbreak has impacted nearly 250 children at these camps, it is important to note that none of the cases have been severe.
Despite the growing fear and apprehension, though, public health officials are urging calm and telling Canadians to live their lives as they normally would. If that means sending their children to summer camp, then so be it.
However, they are also asking parents to use common sense. If their child is not feeling well, don't send him or her to camp. That alone should help control the spread of the virus.
While there haven't been any camp outbreaks in Nova Scotia, that doesn't mean those people who operate children's camps are taking it easy. The Abilities Foundation of Nova Scotia, the group that runs Camp Tidnish near Amherst, has implemented a strict protocol when it comes to keeping campers healthy.
Because its campers already have compromised immune systems because of various illnesses, staff take extra care in keeping the camp clean. From frequent handwashing, to sanitizing eating utensils and drinking glasses, tables and door handles, staff have helped avoid the onset of any flu-like illness this summer.
It is understandable for parents to be concerned about the spread of the virus, but we must resist the temptation to expect the worst. Canadians deal with the flu every winter and as long as precautions are taken there's no reason not to do what health officials are saying - send your child to camp and let them enjoy themselves because it's only a matter of weeks before they'll be back in the classroom again wondering where their summer went.

Organizations: Abilities Foundation of Nova Scotia

Geographic location: Ontario, Nova Scotia, Amherst

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