Schools urged to also focus on common rainy season diseases

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It is not only the Covid-19 pandemic that schools nationwide should worry about when it reopens in July, but also other common rainy season diseases that comes along with it such as dengue, influenza and HFMD (hand, foot and mouth disease), says an epidemiology expert.

Speaking at a forum held by the Thai Health Promotion Foundation (Thai Health) yesterday, epidemiology expert Dr Kumnuan Ungchusak of the Department of Disease Control, warned schools not to only focus on Covid-19 safety measures, but also be cautious of other common rainy season diseases.

“As the monsoon season begins, the number of children going down with influenza, dengue fever and hand, foot and mouth disease is likely to increase. I think the likelihood of our children contracting these diseases is much higher than Covid-19,” he said.

It is estimated dengue fever will infect around 140,000 people in Thailand this year, while influenza is also expected to infect tens of thousands of people, Dr Kumnuan added.

“Covid-19 and influenza can similarly be spread from sneezing, coughing and physical contact, so frequent hand washing with soap and water can help prevent infection. I think adequate safety measures have already been put in place by authorities,” he said.

Schools must monitor children closely and look out for those showing flu-like symptoms. Children with symptoms should be isolated from the rest and stay home until after recovery.

“Schools must not panic when they find students with flu symptoms. It’s crucial to strike the right balance between getting children back into education and protecting their health,” Dr Kumnuan said.

Worawich Kumpoo Na Ayuthaya, advisor to the education minister, said the ministry has ordered schools across the country to spray repellents and kill mosquitos and their larvae in damp areas to prevent dengue outbreak. He also suggested students and teachers get vaccinated against influenza.

Original writer: Dumrongkiat Mala
Source: Bangkok Post
Photo: chiangraitimes.com

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