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Daycare centres warned as Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease cases climb

Daycare centres warned as Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease cases climb

Local daycare centres are being urged to “adhere to proper hygiene and sanitation practices” not only because of COVID-19 but because of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease is currently affecting the territory.

National Epidemiologist Harmonie Massiah said there have been five reported cases of HFMD in the last four weeks.

“Sick children should be kept home until they are well to limit the spread of the infection in schools and daycare institutions,” she stated.

Because of this increase in HFMD cases, the Ministry of Health & Social Development is encouraging parents to remain vigilant and monitor their children to ensure they are protected from the virus.

Massiah said the disease is spread from person to person through coughing, sneezing and contact with infected faeces via changing of diaper.

The disease can also be transmitted from touching surfaces or objects which have been contaminated with the virus.

“Symptoms usually begin with a fever, sore throat, reduced appetite and a general feeling of being unwell,” the Massiah said.

“Within a day or two after the first symptoms, a rash and bumps may appear on the soles of the feet, palms of the hands and inside the mouth. A rash may also develop on the elbows, knees and buttocks. The bumps may blister but they do not cause itching,” the National Epidemiologist added.

A communicable disease

People can contract HFMD and transfer the virus to someone else while being asymptomatic. The illness is usually mild and symptoms tend to disappear between seven and 10 days after infection.

The disease is caused by a group of viruses known as Coxsackie Viruses and it is more common in infants and young children under five years old. However, it is not uncommon for older children or adults to contract the virus.

To reduce the risk of getting infected with HFMD and prevent the spread of the virus, parents and care workers are encouraged by Massiah to wash hands often with soap and water, especially after changing diapers.

She is also urging adults to assist children with handwashing and teach them the proper method of washing their hands.

No specific treatment

There is no specific treatment for HFMD, but symptoms can be treated to provide relief. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used to manage fever and pain.

Persons with the virus are advised to drink lots of fluids to prevent dehydration. Cold liquids are usually preferable. They should also refrain from consuming spicy and acidic foods as these may cause discomfort.

The Ministry of Health is also advising residents to refrain from touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Persons are further encouraged to disinfect surfaces and objects such as toys and doorknobs as they are major carriers of germs.

If someone is infected with HFMD, the ministry said people should avoid close contact with the individual and do not engage in intimate moments.


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