Schools warn parents for children to wear face masks

Schools warn parents for children to wear face masks

Melike Çalkap - ISTANBUL
Schools warn parents for children to wear face masks

As flu cases are spreading rapidly among children, many schools have begun to warn parents that children should come to school wearing face masks.

Messages sent to parents also warn not to send children who show symptoms to school, as experts emphasize that the precautions taken by schools for the “flu epidemic” are in place.

“With the effect of the closure during the pandemic, our social immunity has decreased against the influenza virus. Thus, over the normalization process, there has been a very rapid increase in cases,” said Eda Kepenekli, an associate professor from Marmara University.

Adenovirus, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are currently most common in children, the expert noted, warning parents to complete their kids’ childhood immunizations if any are missing.

All children over six months should also be vaccinated against the influenza, Kepenekli said.

If children have symptoms such as runny nose and cough, they should wear a face mask, and even should not go to school for the first three or four days after the symptoms begin, she added.

The measures taken by schools are appropriate, Ateş Kara, a professor from Hacettepe University, also said.

Thanks to the precautions taken by both children and adults during the pandemic, around two and a half years have passed without encountering infections affecting the upper respiratory tract, he said.

“However, these seasonal viruses started to appear again, along with those that are quickly becoming commonplace, such as RSV and influenza, with people returning to the same social lives.”

The reason why there are so many sick children is that they did not learn about these diseases during the pandemic, Kara suggested.

Influenza and RSV cases may increase by the middle of this month, the expert warned and said, “The best thing we can do to protect children during this period is to follow the hygiene rules and wear face masks.”

Pupils must be taken outside between classes and the classrooms must be ventilated, Kara stressed.

“In the same way, if adults feel complaints such as mild sore throat, fever and cough, using masks in their social lives would allow us to spend this period more comfortably,” he added, urging to get influenza vaccine, and also COVID-19 booster shots.