The first term of every year sees ups and downs in attendance due to the change in weather. Be it colds, coughs, flu or stomach bugs, students are sometimes absent for a full week during the term to recuperate from illness.
Little ones at nurseries are the most vulnerable to viral infections but older, school going children too are susceptible too.
Nine-year-old girl Ameena Sharaf, from Our Own Indian High School, passed away on October 29 after succumbing to flu. She had been undergoing treatment for fever, fatigue and nausea at the Al Jalila Children’s Hospital (AJCH). She was admitted to the hospital on October 24. GEMS Education said it was "saddened" by the passing away of Ameena , a Grade 4 student. Its spokesperson said:
Ameena, passed away after an acute illness. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and loved ones in this unfortunate and trying time. Our counsellors are in touch with Ameena’s classmates and we will extend all support to them. Ameena was an extremely bright, talented and cheerful student, loved by her friends and teachers. We deeply mourn the loss.”
The school has issued a health advisory for parents not to send their children to school if they are sick.
Most schools in Dubai have a medical policy and a team that advises parents on a regular basis on health concerns and precautions to be taken. Joanne Wells, Principal of South View School told WhichSchoolAdvisor.com:
“As adults we always feel we should push on through illness and that failing to show up for work will reflect badly on us, indeed many of us pride ourselves on how few days sickness we have taken over our careers, but we must remember with children it is a wholly different approach, not only are their immune systems in a nascent condition but the chance of infecting tens of others, students and teachers, when attending school is very high. I hope over this period where viruses are prevalent parents are vigilant and err on the side of caution where the health of their children is involved.”
School nurses at Safa British School have already sent out a Medical newsletter to all the families.
Their six tips to stay healthy this flu season are:
There are three Influenza viruses – A, B and C.
A and B cause the large seasonal outbreaks, while type C usually causes mild respiratory symptoms. Flu is spread by coming in contact with sneezes or coughs of an infected person either through breathing or touching your hands on objects touched by them.
Some of the flu symptoms are fever, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, chills and fatigue.
It is always advisable to get a check-up done through the doctor rather than treating flu at home, and always take medicines prescribed by the doctor.
For more advice on what you should do if your young ones get ill, see our story, How to cope with cold and flu season with Under 5s.