For 9-year-old Adrianna, who’s been over-the-moon about going to overnight camp for the first time, the end of the school year can’t come fast enough. She’s not alone. Summer activities are about to begin for all the kids who are getting out of school next week. Adrianna has already started to pack her suitcase with the items required for camp including her own bottles of sunscreen and mosquito repellent.
There’s something Public Health is encouraging Adrianna’s parents to do to make sure their daughter stays healthy at summer camp. It will also contribute to keeping Adrianna and her family healthy year-round. What is it that Adrianna’s family, and families like hers, should do? Make sure everyone’s vaccines are up to date.
Immunizations are important for everybody, regardless of a person’s age or the activities planned for the summer. Whatever a family chooses to do this summer (organized sports, camping, travelling, water activities, visiting family and friends), in all likelihood there will be a lot of other children and adults wherever they go and whatever they do. These are perfect opportunities for viruses and bacteria to spread.
And spread they do. One case of the measles in a camp counsellor, acquired during recent travel to another country, has the potential to become an outbreak among the non-vaccinated or under-vaccinated camp population. The campers who become infected with the measles may have no symptoms until they return home. By the time that the campers do get sick, family members and others may have been exposed to the measles virus too.
Wait. There’s absolutely no reason kids should come home from camp, or other summer activities, with the measles or other vaccine-preventable diseases. Before Adrianna goes to camp, Public Health encourages her parents to check her yellow immunization record, or contact their family physician about the status of their daughter’s vaccines. Adrianna’s family shouldn’t stop there. They can use this opportunity to review the entire family’s immunization status.
Ontario’s vaccine program
Ontario has a free vaccine program that makes it easy for everyone in Adrianna’s family, and every family in the province, to be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases. To find out what vaccines are recommended for children and adults, check out Ontario’s Routine Immunization Schedule for vaccines and the ages at which they need to be given:
Public Health encourages parents to follow the recommendations of experts and vaccinate their children according to Ontario’s Publicly Funded Immunization Schedule. Vaccines build up the immune system best when they are given according to schedule. Watch a video from one expert, a pediatric infectious disease specialist, about the importance of immunization.
Adrianna is counting down the days until her week at camp. While she’s at camp, the sunscreen she has packed will protect her from the sun’s UV rays, hopefully the insect repellant will reduce the number of mosquito bites she gets, and up-to-date vaccinations will mean she doesn’t come home with a vaccine-preventable disease.
Have a great time at summer camp Adrianna!
Important reminder: Report vaccinations to Public Health
Whenever a school-aged child gets a vaccine, report it to Public Health. For more information and to update an immunization record, go to immunizewdg.ca.