It’s September, and Back to School! Over a million children in the UAE are going back to their classrooms this month, and due to the exceptionally challenging times we are going through, their health and wellness is of extreme importance to American Hospital Dubai
After having been confined to online classes for over four months due to the pandemic, these children are now returning to school and the concern for most parents is the possibility of their children being exposed to pathogens including the SARS-COV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.
But with proper precautions, children can enjoy a safe and stimulating school experience all over again, says Dr Fatemah Saad, Consultant Pediatrician, American Hospital Dubai. “Keeping children healthy is a responsibility of all stakeholders – parents, students, schools and health care specialists,” she says. “A strong collaboration between them can result in safety and success.”
Here’s her advice to parents:
Get your facts on COVID-19:Parents must meet their family doctor and get thoroughly informed on the symptoms of COVID-19.
Do the temperature check:Before your child steps out for school, check their temperature every day. Watch out for signs of cough, cold, fever, fatigue, body ache, if any. If your child has any loss of taste or smell, be alert as these are all signs of COVID-19.
Take responsibility:If your child exhibits any of the above symptoms, do not send them to school as this can spread infection. Remember, the primary responsibility of your child’s safety lies with you.
Isolate your child at home:Ensure all precautions are in place and also get a PCR test done to rule out COVID-19.
Maintain your child’s immunization and vaccination schedule:Are they getting their booster doses such as MMR, polio, etc.? Make sure these booster doses are not missed.
Additional influenza vaccination:September ushers in seasonal weather changes. Getting this done helps build your child’s immunity. If all parents do this for their children, it helps acquire herd immunity.
Are they eating balanced meals and drinking enough water?Fresh fruits, vegetables, proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats and other micronutrients, make sure they get these in their daily meals. Their daily dose of Vitamin C, other vitamins and minerals are better obtained through food than with supplements. Also, is your child drinking enough water every day? Make sure they do. Avoid giving them sugary fruit juices. Encourage them to eat whole fruits instead.
Exercise and movement:Get your child to be active outdoors. After four months of online learning, a spot of exercise will help them strengthen their immunity.
Social distancing at school:Talk to teachers to ensure your children are sticking to these safe practices. A space of 3-6 feet between students is a must.
Hand hygiene and washing:School authorities and parents must educate the child on proper hand hygiene and wearing of the mask. If you have not already done so, demonstrate the technique of hand washing to them which they must follow at school and at home. Give them hand sanitizers they can use on a regular basis.
No sharing please:Discourage children to share water or food at school.
Rules on the school bus:Wear the mask correctly, keep distance from other students, and board the bus safely. No touching of nose, mouth or any part of the face without first using the hand sanitizer.