|17 August, 2019

Keep your kids safe from 'back-to-school bug'

Considering that most ailments children catch are viral illnesses, maintaining good hygiene is important

Image used for illustrative purpose. Young family in Dubai - UAE, taking their little girl to school in the morning in Jumeirah district. They are happy in a sunny day.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Young family in Dubai - UAE, taking their little girl to school in the morning in Jumeirah district. They are happy in a sunny day.

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In a few weeks, kids in the UAE will get back to their daily school routine - and experts have said this is a time for parents to be mindful of their children's health.

September is a busy month: People return from vacations and schools reopen. But on top of that, it's also when common viral illnesses emerge.

Dr Sathiya Jayapal, consultant paediatrician at American Hospital, said: "Common cold, cough, fever, skin conditions like sunburn and prickly heat, insect bite allergy, food poisoning, vomiting and diarrhoea are some ailments we see often among children around this time of the year."

Considering that most ailments children catch are viral illnesses, maintaining good hygiene is important.

Dr Rashmi Anandani, specialist at the paediatrics department of RAK Hospital, said: "A very important suggestion to avoid such illnesses would be to wash your hands. Washing hands with soap and water even for 15 seconds can decrease bacterial count by 90 per cent. Children should also drink plenty of water and take vitamin C, as well as rich fruit juices and food that boost their immunity."

Keep sick kids at home

Upon spotting the first signs of sickness in their children, parents must seek medical advice right away, instead of relying on over-the-counter medications.

And if they do get sick, schoolkids must be given enough time to rest before attending their classes. Not only will this help the child fully recover, it also limits the spread of infection among other children at school.

Eating healthy is a must, and so is a dental check-up. The doctors also reminded parents to check their kids' vaccination records and ensure that they get the shots they need.
Proper hydration is another essential requirement to prevent schoolchildren from getting sick.

Dr Meena Sadip Karle, paediatrician, Aster Hospital Qusais, said: "Due to the harsh summer weather, it is critical that children are always hydrated even when indoors. They should drink plenty of fluids. If they are playing outdoors, the duration must be limited and wearing sunscreen is a must.

"Plenty of fruits and vegetables that are high in water content must also be included in a child's diet."

Getting enough rest could help youngsters fight infection. Since their usual sleeping patterns may have been thrown off because of the summer holidays, parents must re-establish their bedtime routine.

Screen time restrictions should apply. Set time for play and start adjusting their daily schedules in these two weeks.

Parents, together with teachers and other caregivers should strive to create a healthy, safe environment for youngsters.

Dr Jayapal said: "Children learn good habits by following what their parents are doing, rather than listening to them. Next time, you can cook or order a healthy meal when you go out, and try swimming, jogging or cycling, as a fun family activity. Children would love to do it.

"As with any other good things, if these are done regularly and consistently, these become habits and stay with them forever."

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