Keep kids with respiratory symptoms at home – GP

A DONGEAL GP is urging parents to keep their children home from school and childcare facilities if they are displaying respiratory symptoms as the significant rise in infections is having a severe impact on the health service.

Dr Denis McCauley, GP committee chairman with the Irish Medical Organisation, has echoed the plea of the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Breda Smyth who has urged people to avoid attending social settings if they have respiratory symptoms.

Dr McCauley said he thinks it is very practical advice that perhaps is not very intuitive. He said they are asking everybody who has respiratory symptoms, particularly a temperature and a cough, what are you doing going to work? Or what are you doing sending your child to school?


“Before covid or before the flu epidemic we would usually motor on, but not now. If you can, just hang tight and stay at home.”
Dr McCauley has acknowledged that staying at home is easier for adults, and that issues regarding childcare means it is “not as straightforward” for children to stay at home.

He emphasised that children are “great wee spreaders of flu- they don’t get particularly sick but they can spread it like demons.”
“Before we would have given them a spoonful of Calpol and sent them in, but our advice now is if your child has a temperature and is particularly under the weather then please don’t send them to school.”

He also acknowledged the changing public health advice for parents can cause confusion.

“With Strep-A, parents were told if children had a temperature to go to the doctor, we are saying now that things need to be rejigged,” he said.

“If the child has a temperature and isn’t too sick then just stay at home for 48 hours, only go to the doctor if the temperature persists more than 48 hours.”

Dr McCauley explained that we have all grown up with the attitude of “away you go, you’ll be grand”, but as for the next two months this attitude has to shift.

“There is nothing wrong with that attitude in the summer, when there isn’t a flu epidemic and there isn’t fifty people sitting in casualty waiting for beds in Letterkenny.


“For the next two months we need to take that tough Ulsterness from ourselves, wash it clean and just become soft, that’s the way to do it,” he said.

Dr McCauley added that we must remain practical, and remember that after a case of covid or flu a lot of people are left with a chronic cough and that this is different. People only need to stay home in the early stages of the virus.

“So if you don’t have a temperature and you’re not snotty or you’re not actually infectious, of course you can go out,” he said.


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