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Summer Camps: Influenza and Other Communicable Diseases – What Should Parents Do If There Is an Outbreak?

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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Summer camps are typically filled with friendship, fun, and the great outdoors. When there is a large congregation or gathering of children around, there are, at times, outbreaks of Influenza and other communicable diseases. It can be quite stressful for both the child and the parent, who is typically hundreds of miles away, to deal with an illness at camp. Most reputable summer camps have a doctor on staff to address the basic health needs of the child. Beyond the camp confines, there should be a medical facility, hospital, or clinic available for more in depth medical care and evaluation. Influenza can be quite troublesome and risky. It is spread person to person and even by object. For instance, a child can wipe his or her nose and then touch a door knob. This, in turn, can lead to the infection of another child. The Influenza virus can live for several days on an object like a door knob or a toy.

What should parents do when a child gets sick at camp? I recommend that the parent keep in close contact with the camp and the camp doctor. Ask to speak to your child. Many camps prohibit telephone contact due to a child becoming homesick. However, there are always exceptions and extraordinary circumstances beyond these in house camp rules.

I also recommend that parents consult with the child’s own pediatrician and an Infectious Disease doctor for guidance and follow up. Get the summer camp to fax you the medical records so you can see what is being documented and done for your child’s illness at summer camp.

You can read more about Influenza at When Your Child Is Sick – Influenza in Children.