HFMD is an illness that mostly infects young children and is caused by a group of intestinal viruses. The more common strains of the disease are Coxsackie A Virus and Enterovirus 71 (EV71).
How Does It Spread?
HFMD can be transmitted from one person to another by direct contact with saliva, nasal discharge, faeces and fluid from the rash of an infected person. Young children under the age of five are most susceptible to the disease. While adults can still be infected by HFMD, it is extremely uncommon.
Is It Dangerous?
Most HFMD cases are mild, however, if the disease is caused by the EV71 strain it could cause serious complications involving the nervous system and heart, which can lead to death.
How do I spot HFMD?
The symptoms of HFMD include:
- Sore Throat
- Poor Appetite
- Rash on Palms of Hands and Soles of Feet
- Ulcers Inside the Mouth or Sides of Tongue
How do I prevent it?
- Wash your and your baby's hands frequently with soap before eating and after going to the toilet
- Do not let your child share food and drinks, utensils, toothbrushes or towels with anyone
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
How do I help to support my child’s immunity development?
- Feed your baby a balanced diet with fruits and veggies
- Ensure adequate sleep time
- Practice great hygiene to prevent the spread of germs
- Strengthen their natural defences through exercise
What should I look for in childcare centres to ensure my baby is safe from HFMD?
- Pre-schools and childcare centres should conform to the Ministry of Health’s guidelines for the prevention and control of infectious diseases
- Childcare centres should conduct daily health and temperature checks upon arrival
- Staff and children practice appropriate hand washing
- Childcare centres should have a designated sick-bay where the unwell child can rest while waiting for a parent or guardian
How is it treated?
HFMD cannot be treated with antibiotics. While there is no specific treatment for the disease, bed rest and drinking plenty of fluids will aid the recovery process.
If you suspect that your child may have HFMD take them to your licensed pediatrician for a check up.
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