Some UAE schools have asked parents not to send in sick children due to the prevalence of influenza.
This follows a rise in flu rates in the UAE in recent weeks, with schools in Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi recording hundreds of cases of pupils with fever and other symptoms.
On Monday, the International School of Choueifat in Sharjah sent an email to parents asking for their help to minimise the spread of infections and viruses in the classroom.
“This serves as a precautionary measure for all parents in relation to influenza A and B virus,” the email said. “To prevent widespread flu in school, we recommend that your child stay home if experiencing flu or cold symptoms.”
They listed several symptoms including a fever greater than 38°C (100°F), vomiting (even once), diarrhoea, chills, fatigue, discomfort, weakness, muscle aches, nasal congestion, runny nose and frequent coughing.
“When my KG2 son at Sharjah’s Choueifat suffered symptoms of flu, I didn’t send him to school,” said Yara Mahmoud, 43, from Jordan.
“But If other parents did the same, my son wouldn’t have been infected in the first place. I even stopped visiting friends and family to avoid spreading the virus.”
She said by the third day of her son’s infection, she and her husband both fell sick.
In Dubai, Al Maaref Private School sent two text messages to parents telling them not to send their children to school if they didn’t feel well.
“We texted parents last week and two weeks before telling them that children with symptoms must stay home,” said head teacher Mohamed Mutawea.
“If they don't stay home they will be exposing the entire school community to the virus.”
Mr Mutawea said some parents would send their children to school despite knowing they are not feeling well.
“If a child falls sick we immediately send them to one of two isolation rooms at the school and contact their parents to come to pick them up,” he said.
“Just now a parent was contacted to come to pick up his three children after they showed symptoms of flu.”
Samir Sarhan, principal at Al Maarifa International Private School in Sharjah, said it's important parents keep their children who are suffering from any symptoms at home to stop the virus spreading.
“We assure parents that their children will not miss out on anything as the school allows sick pupils who do not attend classes physically to learn from home,” he said.
Last month, the Ministry of Health and Prevention launched its seasonal influenza campaign, which is in line with the UAE’s strategy to provide comprehensive health coverage and protect members of society against infectious diseases, and will run until December.