As summer sets in, nearly six million campers will attend summer camps in the U.S. And while summer is typically not know as cold or flu season, illnesses and injuries – some very serious – occur every year at hundreds of camps.
Flu viruses and infectious diseases spread quickly through camps due to the close contact of campers, soiled skin and surfaces and sharing of towels or clothes. Infectious diseases cause 20 percent of all illnesses among campers and staff members. Additionally, sports camps have the added feature of common sports injuries that then make campers susceptible – through open wounds – to infection.
To help prepare for camp, parents should understand how to help prevent these illnesses and talk to their children.
"Talking about how to stay safe from infection and illness is a very important part of preparing for camp," said Grant Doornbos, M.D. in Louisville, Ky. and former National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I athlete. "Especially those going to sports camps, if you have to show them what some infections look like in pictures, while sometimes scary, it can help them understand what to look for on their skin or their teammates' skin."
Ten prevention tips parents should share with their campers: