As temperatures soar, schools detect an increasing number of children falling ill. Educators, doctors as well as the weather department have stressed the need for children to be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids and to stay indoors as much as possible.
"With the onset of summer, many children have been affected by seasonal illnesses such as fever and flu.
Several are also affected by the heat and we get cases of fainting and nosebleeds very often," said Mousumi Dasgupta, headmistress of the Delhi Private School in Sharjah.
In response, the school decided for the first time to reduce the school hours by one hour from next week until the summer holidays, she said. About 60 kindergarteners were absent from the school yesterday.
Each class will be reduced by five minutes and the school will not hold a morning assembly, Dasgupta said.
Many schools have adopted similar measures.
Al Ameer English School in Ajman has reduced the school hours by 30 minutes beginning this month, said Abu Saleh,
"There have been cases of fainting. Children are easily stressed out due to the heat and feel lethargic."
The school also held a student workshop to increase awareness about heat stress symptoms, he added.
"Our biggest fear continues to be dehydration, which can impact upon children's ability to learn and retain information," said Leo Spaans, Principal of Gems Wellington Primary School, adding that the school has not witnessed a significant increase in heat-related illnesses this year.
Spaans said the school promotes the ‘hydrate, hydrate, hydrate' theme through their staff, newsletters, via class blogs and by the school community.
"We believe that being vigilant and facilitating a proactive stance in regard to ‘keeping children cool' is key," he added.
Dr Seham Adel Ebrahim, School Doctor at Gems-run Al Khaleej National School, said that children are often ignorant about the right quantity of water intake required.
"Some forget about it while playing, while others just don't care."
She stressed the importance of raising awareness among children about heat stress symptoms and said that it is a must to keep a bottle of water within reach at all times.
According to Saraswathi Narayanan, Vice-Principal of Indian School Al Ain, the reason behind summer illnesses lies mainly in the faulty diets of children. "Children here often do not eat a healthy breakfast and drink enough fluid."
On average, the school clinic sees one or two children affected by heat everyday, she said.
From / Gulf News