Hand Foot & Mouth Disease is on the rise again. Commonly known as HFMD, this is what you need to know about the disease.
Your child will have:
- Sore throat.
- Loss of appetite.
- Blister-like spots on palms of hands, soles of feet and/or buttocks.
- Mouth ulcers on the inside of mouth or sides of tongue.
Take note that symptoms may vary between individuals and at different stages of the disease — so they may not show all of these symptoms.
HFMD can be easily spread through direct contact with mucus, saliva, faeces and fluid from the blisters. Both adults and children, especially children below 5 years old, can easily contract it. Dr Low Kah Tzay, a paediatrician at Anson International Paediatric & Child Development Clinic, notes, “Young children are commonly affected as they are less aware about hygiene.”
This is how to treat it:
As the symptoms are usually mild, children will be able to recover within five to 10 days; it is sufficient to bring your child to the polyclinic or family doctor.
But if you start to notice symptoms such as persistent vomiting, dehydration, seizures or when your child complains of acute headache or giddiness, you should bring him to the emergency room immediately.
To protect your child (and stop the HFMD spread), start with yourself. Read on...
- Inform junior’s school/childcare immediately if junior is infected, so that they can monitor other children and take extra precautions. You’ll appreciate this even more when it’s other kids getting HFMD, and the school keeping your kid safe!
- Isolate junior, keeping them away from crowded places.
- Teach and encourage junior to cover their mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
- Disinfect junior’s toys or articles that have been contaminated by nasal or oral secretions. SmartParents has more stories about keeping junior safe.
- Hydrate – ensure that junior keeps drinking fluids.
Practise good hygiene by encouraging junior to wash their hands after using the toilet (or after you change junior’s diapers) or before handling food.
- Do not send junior back to school before he has fully recovered.
- Do not share food/drinks, utensils, toothbrushes or towels between your children and you.
Pregnant women ― beware!
Adults should also take precautions as to not contract this disease, especially pregnant woman. Dr Wendy Sinnathamby, a paediatrician at Raffles Children’s Centre, warns, “They may experience miscarriage or stillbirth. If an expectant mum contracts HFMD close to delivery, the newborn can get a severe infection.”