Experts warn of rainy season diseases

Experts warn of rainy season diseases

A mother helps her little girl try on a new school uniform at a store in Bang Kapi district of the capital. More parents are visiting shops to buy uniforms for their children ahead of the new school term which starts on July 1. Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb
A mother helps her little girl try on a new school uniform at a store in Bang Kapi district of the capital. More parents are visiting shops to buy uniforms for their children ahead of the new school term which starts on July 1. Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb

The Covid-19 pandemic will not be the only threat to Thai students when schools reopen in July as rain will also bring other common wet-season diseases, an expert warns.

Speaking on Tuesday, Dr Kumnuan Ungchusak, an epidemiologist at the Department of Disease Control, warned schools nationwide to not only focus on Covid-19, but also be wary of other wet-season diseases.

"As the monsoon season begins, the number of children going down with influenza, dengue fever and hand, foot and mouth disease is likely to increase. I think the likelihood of our children contracting these diseases is much higher than Covid-19," he said.

It is estimated dengue fever will infect around 140,000 people in Thailand this year, while influenza is also expected to infect tens of thousands of people, Dr Kumnuan said.

"At present, the total number of Covid-19 infections in Thailand is just 3,135 with 58 deaths, so you can see which ones we should be more worried about," he said.

Dr Kumnuan said the Education Ministry's guidelines on Covid-19 prevention, which require schools to screen body temperatures, clean frequently and keep distance among students, will also help prevent the spread of other wet-season diseases.

"Covid-19 and influenza can similarly be spread from sneezing, coughing and physical contact, so frequent hand washing with soap and water can help prevent infection. I think adequate safety measures have already been put in place by authorities," he said.

The expert said schools must closely monitor children and look out for those exhibiting flu-like symptoms. Children with symptoms should be isolated from the rest and stay home until after recovery, he said.

"Schools must not panic when they find students with flu symptoms. It's crucial to havethe right balance between getting children back into education and protecting their health," he said.

Vocabulary

  • adequate: good enough or large enough for a particular purpose - พอเพียง
  • contract : to become infected with a disease - ติดเชื้อ
  • coughing: the action of forcing air up through your throat with a sudden noise, especially when you have a cold - ไอ
  • crucial (adj): extremely important because it effects the result of something - สำคัญยิ่ง
  • dengue fever: a very serious illness that you get if a mosquito infected with a particular virus bites you. Dengue fever causes fever, headaches, and pain in the joints - ไข้เลือดออก
  • disease (noun): a health problem and problem with a person's body, often caused by an infection, either from a bacteria or virus - โรค
  • distance (noun): the amount of space between two places or things; being far away - ความห่างไกล
  • epidemiologist: a scientist who studies the spread and control of diseases - นักระบาดวิทยา
  • guidelines: official instructions or advice about how to do something - สิ่งที่ช่วยแนะแนวทางให้ปฏิบัติ
  • influenza (noun): flu, an infectious disease like a very bad cold, that causes fever, pains and weakness - ไข้หวัดใหญ่
  • likelihood: the chance that something will happen - ความเป็นไปได้
  • panic: to have a sudden strong feeling of fear or worry that causes you to be unable to think clearly or calmly - ตื่นตกใจ
  • prevention: preventing something bad from happening - การป้องกันภ้ย
  • sneeze: to loudly blow air out of your nose in a sudden uncontrolled way - จาม

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