Swine flu is keeping kids with asthma home from camp this summer.
The American Lung Association has advised its affiliated camps to close, including one in Colorado that was scheduled to begin next week. Champ Camp in Ward was a traditional sleep-away weeklong camp for boys and girls with asthma — no campfires allowed.
The decision came after four campers were hospitalized when they became sick at an affiliated camp in Julian, Calif., said Heather Grzelka, spokeswoman for the Washington-based Lung Association.
Grzelka said the association has about 50 affiliated camps nationwide, but that they are not run by her group and that she wasn't sure how many would close.
The American Lung Association of the Southwest called off three summer camps — the Champ Camp, plus camps in Tooele, Utah, and Reno, Nev. All were scheduled for July.
"We just became increasingly worried," said Curt Huber, director of the American Lung Association of Colorado. "Anywhere kids sleep together and eat in the same room, this is going to be a worry."
Grzelka said kids with asthma or other respiratory diseases are at greater risk from swine flu.
"It poses a special health risk to children with asthma," Grzelka said.
Similar concerns have prompted at least 50 summer camps nationwide to cancel sessions or send campers home early. The University of Northern Colorado in Greeley ended a camp for students in gifted and talented classes Monday after 10 students and three staffers showed flu-like symptoms. Health officials said Tuesday that five people tested positive for swine flu.
Last month, the Tucson-Ariz.-based Muscular Dystrophy Association canceled 47 camps in 35 states, a decision affecting some 2,500 campers.
At the California camp in June, four campers came down with swine flu and an additional 85 had flu-like symptoms. All have since recovered, but the American Lung Association of California has called off a day camp planned for August in Santa Barbara.
"Considering these are sick kids to begin with, I think it was a prudent decision," said Debra Kelley, a spokeswoman for the American Lung Association of California.
On the Net:
American Lung Association of the Southwest: http://www.lungs.org