HFMD or Hand Foot Mouth Disease had caused quite a stir amongst Malaysian citizens especially parents with young children. To make it worse, a 17-month-old child from Penang allegedly died due to HFMD infections. This tragedy had rendered everyone in the pursuit of getting as much knowledge they can on the fatal disease itself in order to prevent for future casualties to ever happen.
What is HFMD?
Hand Foot Mouth Disease is a common infection in the United States, caused by a group of viruses from the Picornaviridae family. This disease was first prescribed way back in 1957, the first case was being reported in Canada and New Zealand. The disease was termed ‘Hand Foot Mouth Disease‘ after a similar outbreak in 1959.
This disease is caused by a virus called Enterovirus 71 (EV-71) and the Coxsackievirus and easily spread among children through their bodily fluids such as saliva, mucus, and others. EV-71, the more fatal one is always associated with brain and nervous systems complication, and is responsible for a majority of HFMD-related deaths record.
Symptoms of Hand Foot Mouth Disease
Red bumps and blisters will start to appear all over the hands around the palm area, feet around the soles area and mouth. Red spots or bumps without blisters, may also appear on the buttocks, knees, or elbows.
HFMD will also cause ulcers to appear in the throat and mouth and on the tongue that will cause discomfort.
Shortness of Breath
Some patients might experience difficulties in breathing normally as the ulcers tend to block the airways and cause tingly discomfort.
The ulcers also would cause the suspected victim to have sore throats.
There will also be a rise in the body temperature which eventually leads to a fever.
Loss of Appetite
The previous symptoms will then lead to the loss of appetite as they are disturbed by the ulcers in their mouth and throat.
How Does It Spread?
This could be any form of close contact including kissing, hugging or sharing eating utensils or cutleries such as fork, spoon, chopsticks and plates.
Cough and Sneeze
Infected people would obliviously spread the virus by coughing and sneezing without the proper protection of a mask.
Contact with Infected Individuals
Parents are more likely to get infected from their children for examples like situation of changing an infected baby’s diaper. The feces, if accidentally touched, could cause an HFMD infection.
Caring for the Sick
While you care for the infected individuals, you might came into close contact with their blisters and wounds that would infect you as well.
Touch Infected Surface
Surfaces for instance toys, floor, tables, mats that were touched by infected children would cause the people who touch those surfaces to be contaminated by the HFMD disease as well.
Preventions are Better than Cure for Hand Foot Mouth Disease
Take Care of Your Hygiene
Remember to always wash your hands thoroughly before and after you eat, entering and exiting the toilet, and also after caring for a sick and HFMD-infected individuals.
Avoid any possible exposure towards an infected person bodily fluids such as nasal discharge, saliva, faeces, blisters and others.
Do Not Share Personal Items
Personal items similarly eating utensils like fork, spoon, chopsticks and plates, or towels and clothes of an infected person are advisable to be separated to reduce the spread of HFMD disease.
Separate Daily Items
Children often enjoy playing around with a lots of toys, and books. So, it is a good practice to separate the toys which are used by the infected child and the non-infected child, until the disease had subsided. But, make sure to clean and disinfect the books and toys before compiling them back.
Avoid Close Contact
If possible, avoid as much close contact as possible. This helps to reduce the severity of the disease by spreading it from one person to another.
Clean and Disinfect Contaminated Surfaces
Contaminated surfaces like the floor, play or study tables, play mat and many more are the usual place where the virus will stay until they found a new host. So make sure to clean and disinfect your child playing space.
Are Adults Resistant to Hand Foot Mouth Disease?
When adults are too focused on the treatment of their children, parents may be oblivious to the fact that they need the protection. HFMD are contagious to adults and youth over the age of 15. Adults can’t simply assume that they are safe from HFMD. In most cases, parents caught it from caring for their children who have got the disease
Generally, adults immune system are more developed than the kids’. However, this is not the same in all cases as a majority of adults which have a medical condition that impairs their immune system will have the risk of catching the virus. There is currently no vaccine to protect against HFMD.
What Should You do If You Caught the Disease?
The disease will force you to limit your mobility around in order to reduce the risk of spreading HFMD to other people.However, this disease will generally clear up in five to ten days as long as the infected person get enough rest and consume a lot of liquids. The infected could also change to a soft diet – eating soft food like porridge and such – if mouth ulcers causes pain.
Over the Counter Treatments
However, you may also get treatments from your local doctors and they may recommend certain treatments to help ease the symptoms until the disease subsided which includes:
- prescription or over-the-counter topical ointments to soothe blisters and rashes
- pain medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to relieve headaches
- medicated syrups or lozenges to ease painful sore throats
- Certain at-home treatments can also provide relief from hand, foot, and mouth disease symptoms. You can try the following home remedies to help make blisters less bothersome:
Some homemade remedies can also provide relief the HFMD symptoms as well, for instance :
- Suck on ice or popsicles to relief the ulcer
- Eat ice cream or sherbet to reduce sore throat
- Drink cold beverages
- Avoid citrus fruits, fruit drinks, and soda.
- Avoid spicy or salty foods.
- Gargling warm salt water around in the mouth may several times a day as it also help relieve the pain associated with mouth blisters and throat sores.
Take safety measures as early as possible so that you won’t be facing a situation like Hand Foot Mouth Disease that puts you on your wit’s end. Having your beloved child lay sick in bed due to being infected by a disease out of nowhere could be heartbreaking for an onlooking parents. Get protected with our AXA eMedic Online Medical Card for only RM32 a month. With this plan, we will help you cover up the hospital bills of the hospitalization of your little darlings, up to RM100,000 annually.
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