Infection control is a constantly evolving and expanding area – for the good. Paying close attention to infection control in human hospitals is a relatively recent phenomenon, and the advances in infection control are now having an impact outside of hospitals. Pandemic H1N1 influenza drove a lot of changes, but there’s been a general increase in awareness of the need for routine infection control in the greater community. This applies to veterinary clinics and living with animals, but is also evident in everything from protocols in workplaces to summer camps.
We’re getting ready to send my oldest daughter to summer camp for 12 days. Back in my time, I doubt there was much of an infection control plan for summer camps. If anything, it was probably "don’t puke on the other campers and try not to eat too much dirt."
Oh, how things have changed! Last night, we received an email from the camp reminding us to keep our daughter at home if she is sick and outlining their infection control program. Among the infection control measures are:
- Having 2 12-foot handwashing stations outside of the Dining Hall, with everyone required to wash their hands before eating
- Having sinks equipped with handwashing supplies present in all buildings
- Having hand sanitizers throughout the Dining Hall and in every cabin
- Training staff in infection control protocols
- Cleaning cabins every day, with daily inspections of cabins by their "Public Health Supervisors"
- Daily spraying down of surfaces like Dining Hall tables, door handles, toilet handles, taps etc. with disinfectant
- Screening of all kids by one of the Registered Nurses on the first day of camp
Pretty impressive effort, in my opinion. Like everything else, compliance is critical and having good facilities and plans doesn’t guarantee good practices, but the efforts put into developing this program and communicating it suggest that they’ll be paying attention to it. Even with a good program, camps are an excellent breeding ground for infectious diseases and are perpetually an outbreak waiting to happen, but a good infection control program should greatly reduce the risks.