This school year is bringing home more than homework and good grades. There is a bigger influx of children bringing home hand foot and mouth disease home so far this year. It’s best to inform yourself of how HFMD spreads and how to prevent you and your children from contracting it or spreading it.
HFMD is caused by many viruses. The different types of viruses include:
- other enteroviruses
The symptoms of HFMD are usually a fever, poor appetite, uneasiness, and a frequent sore throat. Sores can develop in the mouth around the tongue, on gums and inside of the cheeks. Some people with HFMD may develop a non-itchy rash on the palms or soles of their feet. Though it is common for this rash to develop on other parts of the body as well.
HFMD spreads by direct contact with bodily fluid by someone who may be infected. This virus occurs in children under 10 years of age. To prevent it from spreading, practice washing your hands with your children and teach them not to put unknown objects into their mouth. The World Health Organization recommends these measure to include:
- frequent hand washing with soap and water especially after touching any blister or sore, before preparing food and eating, before feeding young infants, after using the toilet and after changing diapers;
- cleaning contaminated surfaces and soiled items (including toys) first with soap and water, and then disinfecting them using a dilute solution of chlorine-containing bleach;
- avoiding close contact (kissing, hugging, sharing utensils, etc.) with children with HFMD may also help to reduce of the risk of infection;
- keeping infants and sick children away from kindergarten, nursery, school or gatherings until they are well;
- monitoring the sick child’s condition closely and seeking prompt medical attention if persistent high fever, decrease in alertness or deterioration in general condition occurs;
- covering mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing;
- disposing of used tissues into waste bins that close;
- maintaining cleanliness of home, child care centre, kindergartens or schools.
If you would like more information on HFMD, contact us at East Hills Family Pharmacy. You can also go to World Health Organization for more information.