Abu Dhabi: Educational institutions across the UAE have been sending out advisory messages on how to protect children from viral illnesses amid fears of the spread of the 2019-novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
In addition to pointing out the symptoms of an infection, many of these notes also advise parents to keep sick children home and to seek medical help.
A note sent out by GEMS World Academy school in Abu Dhabi yesterday reminded parents not to send sick children to school, especially if they are down with a fever, displaying respiratory symptoms, or experiencing diarrhea, vomiting, chills or nasal congestion.
The advisory also urged good hygiene habits, including frequent handwashing, covering the mouth and nose and avoiding close contact with other people who are ill.
Pristine Private School in Dubai has also circulated a Dubai Health Authority flyer on “seasonal influenza”. In addition to precautionary measures, the flyer recommends taking the influenza vaccine as a means of protection.
First 2019-nCoV infection in UAE
The UAE announced its first case of 2019-nCoV infection yesterday, with a family of four from Wuhan, China hospitalised after presenting with symptoms. While health authorities have assured that there is, as yet, no threat to public health, residents – including children headed to school – have been seen donning masks when venturing outside the home.
“The health centre at my university in Sharjah sent out a series of precautionary measures for us to follow at the start of the week, including a whole list of things to do if you feel ill,” said Raihana M, a 22-year-old undergraduate student from Sri Lanka. She added that the move was quite reassuring given that the university has a number of Chinese exchange students on campus.
Keep sick children home
Meanwhile, other institutions have said that the general rule to tend to a sick child at home stands.
“We send out an advisory every year at the start of winter, and we did so in 2019. We haven’t sent anything out recently,” said Anna Pagdiwala, principal at Mayoor Private School, Abu Dhabi.
“Still, we always recommend that a sick child be kept at home, that parents keep them well hydrated and take them to a doctor,” she added.