Local summer camps take precautions

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Cases of swine flu have shown up most frequently in children and young adults. Most kids were exposed at school, but now that school's out, the virus is finding a new way to spread - at summer camps!

Swine flu cases have popped up in summer camps across the country. That's why the Virginia Department of Health is reaching out in order to protect campers and staff.

Camp Thunderbird in Chesterfield County is abuzz with activity right now as 400 campers participate this week. By summer's end the greater Richmond YMCA will see 4000 children at camp. A number that prompts diligent health and safety procedures that have been enhanced since the state health department issues a swine flu alert.

"We have increased that awareness for everyone during this heightened period of flu, more frequent hand washing, more conscious coughing into the crook of your elbow (and) plenty of hand sanitizer available to everyone," said Todd Gray, Vice President of  Marketing and Communications.

A spokesperson for the YMCA says they've been extra careful already this summer after one camper was confirmed to have the H1N1 virus. Camp officials didn't find out until the child had already finished his camp session. They took precautions anyway and the virus did not spread.

"We actually did alert parents at that time of our safety operating procedures and our standard health and safety protocols and that we really felt the diligent enforcement of those would continue to prevent any spread," Gray said.

Now YMCA camp leaders are urging staffers to stay home if they are sick and giving the same advice to parents when it comes to their campers.

"We've simply reminded parents during this time that it is important that they observe their child's health, that they keep the child at home if they may be showing signs of illness," Gray said.

And as swine flu cases continue to trickle into DRS offices, remember it's important to protect yourself too. The most important component to that is frequent hand-washing.

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