The spread of the disease is a definite cause for concern among parents.
By Louise M, Carrybeans
The recent spike of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in Malaysia is a definite cause for concern among parents. With a number of nurseries, preschools and kindergartens being asked to close temporarily, we are all hoping that the spread of the disease will soon stop.
It is a viral infection caused by a group of enteroviruses, most commonly the Coxsackie virus. The incubation period of HFMD takes 3 to 5 days with a range from 2 days to 2 weeks.
It is a highly contagious infection. An infected person is most contagious during the duration of the illness.
It affects both adults and children but young children below 5 years old are most susceptible.
The virus spreads from person to person by direct contact with nose and throat discharges, saliva, fluid from blisters, or the faeces of infected persons.
HFMD does not transmit to or from pets or other animals.
A fever that can be high but is often mild.
A sore throat followed by painful, red, blister-like wounds on the tongue, gums and inside of the cheeks.
A red rash (flat or raised spots), without itching but sometimes with blistering, on the palms, soles and sometimes the buttocks.
A feeling of lethargic and loss of appetite.
There is no treatment for the illness and no vaccine to prevent an infection. The disease should go away on its own within 2 weeks. To ease the symptoms, you can use over-the-counter pain relievers or numbing mouth sprays. Make sure to drink plenty of water and get as much rest as possible. See a doctor immediately if any complications arise.
Complications like dehydration, brain inflammation, heart and lung failure, and ultimately death.
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Make it a habit to wash your hands often. Use an antibacterial soap.
Avoid close physical contact, such as kissing and hugging, with those infected with HFMD.
Do not share food or cutlery with those infected with HFMD.
Keep your children at home if they are sick to avoid infecting other children.
Eat healthy to boost and improve your immune system.
The easiest way to reduce or slow the spread of infections is by washing your hands frequently. If you don’t have access to clean water, use antibacterial lotion or spray. Start with this simple step and stay healthy!
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