PARENTS have been urged by the Chief Medical Officer to keep their children home from school and childcare facilities if they are displaying new symptoms of illness.
As schools and childcare facilities reopen in Cork, the Chief Medical Officer Professor Breda Smyth is advising parents to continue to be mindful of others and to keep them at home if they are displaying new symptoms of illness.
The Department of Health has warned that there are high levels of ‘flu and Covid-19 in communities and although cases of RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) appear to be decreasing, the three respiratory viruses accounted for more than 1,200 hospitalisations last week.
This is placing significant pressure on healthcare resources, particularly hospital Emergency Departments and GP services.
The re-opening of schools and childcare facilities this week creates an environment for increased respiratory virus transmission.
The Chief Medical Officer Professor Breda Smyth said parents must be ‘vigilant’.
“As schools and childcare facilities re-open after the Christmas break, I am urging parents to be vigilant for symptoms of respiratory viruses in children. If your child has any new-onset symptoms such as congestion, cough, or high temperature, parents should continue to be mindful of others and, if possible, keep their children at home from school or childcare facilities,” she said.
“The vast majority of respiratory illnesses can be treated successfully at home with over-the-counter medication,” said Professor Smyth.
"However, parents should trust their instincts and seek medical attention if required. This year’s ‘flu season has not yet peaked, and there is still time for people to avail of a protective vaccine which takes two weeks to become fully effective.
"It’s a nasal spray and it is administered free of charge by GPs and pharmacists. I would also encourage people to keep up to date with their Covid-19 vaccines and please make an appointment for a booster if you are eligible,” she added.
The Department of Health has advised the public to continue practicing good respiratory etiquette.
“Winter viruses spread easily from person to person, so the public is being urged to help reduce the spread of infection by cleaning hands, wearing masks on public transport and in crowded places, and ensuring good ventilation where possible. Those with any new ‘flu-like symptoms should also stay at home to avoid spreading infection.”