June 30, 2009 - With summer camp season beginning, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has released guidelines for operators to help prevent and manage the spread of the H1N1 flu virus. The Health Unit will be widely distributing the guideline document.
If a camp does not receive the document, it can be download it from the Health Unit’s website at tbdhu.com/id (look under “H1N1 Flu Virus”). A copy can also be requested by calling 625-8318 or toll free 1-888-294-6630, ext. 8318.
The risk of spreading the illness will depend on the type of camp, the number of campers, the type of interaction between campers, the activities offered and the general health of the campers (e.g. are they healthy or do they have any existing medical conditions that would put them at greater risk). Younger children are at the most risk as it is hard to keep up the infection control practices needed to prevent the spread of the illness, such as regular hand washing and covering coughs and sneezes the right way (e.g. in the sleeve). Sleep-over camps are at a greater risk because of the closer contact between campers, including sharing sleeping quarters and washrooms.
The Health Unit will also be providing other resources to the camps, including posters to encourage covering coughs correctly (e.g. in the elbow) and proper hand washing and hand sanitizing technique.