PARENTS have been urged to concentrate on the Covid19 symptoms if anxious about sending their children to school during the winter.
Parents have expressed confusion about when to send their children to school or when to keep them at home especially coming into the normal ‘flu season.’
Dr Josephine Deehan of the Three Spires Surgery in Omagh has urged parents to be aware of the Covid19 symptoms when determining if their child should be sent to school.
Dr Deehan explained, “We haven’t been receiving an overly high number of calls from parents yet, but the schools are only back a couple of weeks.
“In my experience, the main source of confusion leads to parents not really knowing what to do.
“We do get the occasional call from parents about a child’s symptoms and whether they should be concerned but my key message is to be aware of the symptoms of Covid.
“A runny nose or sneezing is not a symptom of Covid19.
“There are three main symptoms that are widely publicised – a high temperature, a new continuous cough and the loss of taste and smell.
“If your child has any of the three Covid symptoms, do not send your child to school, book a Covid test and the whole household self isolate until the results return.
“Inform the school immediately if the test is positive,” said Dr Deehan.
The GP also advises if any household members present symptoms, do not send your child to school until the household member has been tested and that test is negative.
Dr Deehan has acknowledged that recognising the symptoms among young children may be quite difficult for parents as coughs and flu symptoms are common at this time of year.
She continued, “If a child tends to be asthmatic or coughing anyway – be aware if it becomes much worse.
“In very young children, it can be quite hard to determine if they have a loss of taste or smell as it might be difficult for them to express it.
“If the parent recognises any of the key symptoms, the parent should book a Covid test and not send the child to school.”
Dr Deehan has also advised people to sign up for the contact tracing service as she believes this will be crucial in the fight against Covid this winter.
Dr Deehan continued, “The PHA contact tracing service is going to play a big role because individuals, parents and their children will be advised if they need to self isolate.
“This is more important now as we are mixing with more people.
“I would encourage everyone to sign up for the contact trace service so those who have come into contact with someone who has tested positive can be made aware,” concluded Dr Deehan.