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Chatham health department offers guidance on swine flu for children's summer programs

Posted Monday, June 22, 2009

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Pittsboro, NC - Even though it is summertime and the school year has ended, youth are still at risk of contracting the swine flu. The H1N1 flu doesn’t fall into the regular flu season, which usually lasts from November through March.

This is why it is important for parents, vacation Bible school teachers, day and overnight camp employees, and other groups working with young people during the summer to pay attention to H1N1 symptoms to stop the spread of the disease.

H1N1 symptoms include:

• Fever and cough/sore throat
• Headache
• Tiredness
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Body aches
• Chills
• Diarrhea
• Vomiting

At this time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following to reduce spread of influenza in camps and other summer group programs for young people:

GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS:

Hand-washing facilities, including running water and liquid hand soap, should be readily accessible; alcohol-based hand sanitizers may be used if hands are not visibly soiled.

Plan ahead to ensure that enough alcohol-based hand sanitizers are available for situations where hand-washing facilities may not available, such as during hikes.

Routinely clean all areas and items that are more likely to have frequent hand contact (i.e. doorknobs, faucets, handrails). Clean these items daily and before/after meals, as needed. Also, clean any item immediately if it is visibly soiled.

Notify camp attendees, staff and volunteers that they are not allowed to attend the camp or program if they have had flu-like symptoms within SEVEN days prior to the start of the program. If they have been exposed to a person that has had H1N1 or has had flu-like symptoms in the seven days prior to the start of camp, they may attend the camp or program, but should report development of flu-like symptoms immediately.

Consider active screening of ALL newly arriving camp or program attendees, staff and volunteers by asking if they have had any flu-like symptoms in the previous seven days.

Persons who currently have or have had flu-like symptoms within the previous seven days should NOT attend camp or other group programs for at least SEVEN days after their symptoms began or until they have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer.

Participants who develop flu-like symptoms should be immediately separated from the general population and kept away from participants who are not sick until they:

Are safely returned home;

Are taken for medical care, if needed

Have been isolated for at least SEVEN days after symptoms began or 24 hours after symptoms resolve, whichever is longer (if the child is at a residential camp).

Aspirin or aspirin-containing products should not be administered to any person aged 18 years old and younger with a confirmed or suspected case of flu virus infection, due to the risk of Reyes Syndrome.

For questions or additional information, please contact Chatham County Public Health Department Nursing Director, Pam McCall at 919-742-5641.

 
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Chatham health department offers guidance on swine flu for children's summer programs
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