Flu season in UAE: Respiratory viruses a bigger threat to children than Covid, warn doctors

Doctors urge parents to watch out for early signs of illness — like a cold, cough, or a sore throat — and ensure that their children get medical attention early

More school-age children seem to be falling sick these days, with cases of flu and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) infections on the rise, UAE doctors warn.

Even though Covid cases are now on the decline, the medics stressed that the coronavirus isn’t the only strain that is posing a threat to children.

Dr Jamuna Raghuraman, paediatrician at Medeor Hospital, Dubai, noted: “Children are more vulnerable, especially as respiratory illnesses are more common in the colder months. All three – the flu, Covid-19, and RSV – are respiratory viruses with very similar transmission modes. Respiratory illnesses are likely to increase during the winter as dry and cold conditions may weaken children’s resistance and increase the viral spread. We are seeing more cases of influenza and RSV among children in the UAE. Colds spread quickly among children as they are more likely to touch their eyes, mouth, and nose without washing their hands.”

She added: “Parents must not panic. As most are mild to moderate cases, they are treatable. Ensure that children maintain respiratory hygiene. Provide healthy and balanced nutrition and make sure they get adequate hydration. Give vitamin supplements to children with deficiencies. Seek medical help when your child is sick.”

While doctors appreciate how life is returning to normal with the easing of Covid restrictions, they also note that maskless interactions in schools could be leading to an increase in virus transmissions.

Read More: Khaleej Times

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