‘Stay at home if you are unwell’ – HSE publishes letter to schools about Strep A and viral infections

The HSE has advised schools and parents about Strep A and viral infections, which have “increased significantly” this winter.

Letter to schools to exchange with teachers and parents outlines typical symptoms, ways to prevent the spread of infection and how to deal with an infection.

It points out that common winter viral infections have risen sharply among children and adolescents, while there are also concerns about the rare bacterial infection commonly known as group A streptococcus.

The letter was from Dr. Eamonn O’Moore, Director of National Health Protection at the HSE, and Dr. Abigail Collins, National Clinical Lead Child Health Public Health.

They say there have been cases of serious bacterial infections, particularly group A streptococci, but add that serious infections are rare.

The letter points out that group A streptococci are more likely to cause infections such as tonsillitis, scarlet fever and skin infections.

It said Ireland has recently seen cases of more serious infections, but so far there has been “no increase compared to what we saw before the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Information on how to deal with diseases of concern will continue to be updated on hse.ie in the coming days and weeks.

Public health leaders attribute the rise in viral infections, including the flu, to a surge in children mixing this winter after two years of reduced social contact due to the Covid pandemic.

Symptoms of viral infections typically include a runny or stuffy nose, low-grade fever, cough and fatigue, while many children also have a generalized rash.

According to the HSE, most children with viral infections can be safely cared for at home.

Health chiefs warn that children with symptoms are more likely to spread infection and say the number one measure about getting infected is to stay at home if you’re unwell.

They say that many children have a runny nose or a slight cough in winter, but if a child is unwell, they should be at home.

“For example, a child with a fever, cough and sore throat should stay home until those symptoms resolve,” advises the HSE.

In terms of infection prevention and control measures, covering coughs and sneezes and keeping hands clean is recommended, as was widespread after the arrival of Covid. The letter contains links to further information on HSE.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/education/stay-at-home-if-you-are-unwell-hse-issues-letter-to-schools-about-strep-a-and-viral-infections-42203242.html ‘Stay at home if you are unwell’ – HSE publishes letter to schools about Strep A and viral infections

Fry Electronics Team

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