Although Hand, Foot and Mouth disease (HFMD) is a highly contagious disease affecting people from all ages, kids below age 5 are more susceptible to it. If you send your little one to kindergarten or childcare, they have an even higher chance of contracting the disease from their peers.
More than 17,000 cases of HFMD have been reported as of 1 July. While this is an improvement over 2016’s figure of over 23,000 during the same period, it’s still considered quite high. Even though the current strain of HFMD is typically harmless, symptoms like sores and ulcers can cause your little angel discomfort and pain.
The incubation period of HFMD is three to five days (it can range from two days to two weeks). Other than medication to relieve the symptoms, there is no specific treatment or vaccine to treat HFMD. As it is a self-limiting disease, this means it usually goes away by itself after five to seven days. Meanwhile, do keep your tot in good health by observing simple practices.
The Ministry of Health regularly updates a list to show the childcare centres and kindergartens with more than 10 cases of HFMD, or an attack rate of 13 per cent. If you suspect that your child has HFMD, bring him to the doctor for a check-up. Don’t bring him out in public, to prevent him from spreading the disease to others.
Do also inform your child’s childcare centre, kindergarten or school immediately, so that they can monitor the other children closely and take additional precautions. It’s also very important to disinfect and keep all his toys and belongings clean.
Infographic: Paulyn Ng
Any long-term effects?
HFMD is usually a mild disease and, hence, will not cause any long-term harm. Occasionally, the patient suffers serious complications such as brain, heart and lung infections from the EV 71 (enterovirus) virus, which can cause severe neurological complications in young children. Look out for:
1. Severe headache, giddiness and neck stiffness.
2. Disorientation, drowsiness and/or irritability.
4. Breathlessness or turning blue.
Main photo: iStock
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