How to Prevent Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

mother washing baby hands

For us parents, Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) is a serious concern, particularly those of us who have children in childcare or pre-school. Channel News Asia recently reported that there were 1,052 HFMD cases from 17 April to 23 April this year — the highest since mid-October 2013 — meaning that we have to be more vigilant than ever. As we all know, there is no vaccination for the contagious disease (symptoms include fever, sore throat and rash and mouth sores after the fever starts) with children below the age of five the most susceptible to the illness.

However, did you know that even adults could get HFMD? A Singaporean mum recently caught the disease from her two year old son, read her story here

With that in mind, we enlisted the help of Dr Kevin Chua of Drs Chua & Partners to share some simple tips as to how we, as parents can help prevent the spread of HFMD.

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HFMD is spread through the oral-fecal route. Children under a certain age do not yet fully grasp the concept of oral hygiene which is one of the reasons it spreads so easily.

Teachers help to prevent the spread of infection by screening students at the door. Unfortunately when a child is incubating or recovering from an active infection, they often do not show any symptoms.

Tip 1 – follow the teacher’s advice when they tell you to bring your child to see the doctor.

Tip 2 – follow the doctor’s advice when he tells you to quarantine your child for at least 10 days from the day symptoms first show.

I find that parents tend to allow their child to resume classes as soon as the rashes/lesions start to fade or he/she starts feeling better. They don’t realise that their child remains infectious and it is no surprise that another round of infections starts anew.

Tip 3 – Adults do get the infection too. Wash your hand before you eat and avoid kissing your child during this period. Maintain good hygiene at home to minimise infection spread at home.

Drs Chua & Partners (AV) Pte Ltd is a family clinic located at Blk 125 Bt Merah Lane 1, #01-174 (Tel: +65 6377 3179). Find out more at their website here.

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