Flu Prevention For Children During Summer

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Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq and Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. David Butler-Jones, today shared important information with Canadian parents about how to help protect their children from flu while they participate in summer activities.

“While the risk of picking up the H1N1 virus at camps and other summer activities is generally low, we can help lessen that risk by educating our children about flu prevention,” said Minister Aglukkaq, “As mother of a young child myself, I know this is an important message to share with other parents.”

While the vast majority of H1N1 infections in Canada have caused only mild illnesses, it is important to stay vigilant and to take steps to protect yourself and your family.

“Teach your children how to wash their hands frequently and properly and to cover their coughs and sneezes,” said Dr. Butler-Jones, “Find out what camp and daycare organizers plan to do if your children become sick. Let organizers know if your children have any underlying illnesses, like asthma, and make it easy for them to get in touch with you.”

All forms of influenza, including the H1N1 flu virus, are transmitted from person to person through coughing and sneezing. The virus is also spread through contact with surfaces like counters and doorknobs contaminated with the virus from an infected person.

To help protect your children from the virus, there are a number of steps you can take, including:

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1. Teach your children to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water, and how to use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available. Lead by example.

2. Show your children how to cough and sneeze into their arms or sleeves, or a tissue, rather than their hands. Teach them to dispose of tissues immediately after use and to wash their hands after coughing and sneezing.

3. Keep household surfaces clean.

When your child is sick, to help protect others from infection:

1. Do not send your child to day camp or other activities, like sports lesson or playgroups.

2. Consider bringing your child home from residential camp.

If your child does become ill, and symptoms worsen from a cough and fever to serious breathing difficulty, seek medical attention immediately.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) worked with provincial and territorial health authorities to develop a guidance document for organizers of camps and other summer activities on infection control practices.

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