Last month, Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) numbers hit their highest level since June 2016 in Singapore. While this is an alarming situation that should be brought to attention, parents should be alert at all times, and not only during outbreaks.
PramWash advocates child hygiene and we can never stop stressing the importance of it. Keeping your child’s environment clean, encouraging personal hygiene in your children and have their baby gear sent for regular cleaning is so crucial.
Start with the basics:
We are not just jumping onto the bandwagon here. We are serious about your kids’ optimum health and well-being.
So what is Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease and why is it such a concern?
Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease is present all year round in Singapore with seasonal outbreaks every year. HFMD is spread from person to person by direct contact with the nasal discharge, saliva, faeces and fluid from the rash of an infected person. Both adults and children can be affected, but young children below five years of age are particularly susceptible.
HFMD usually occur in childcare centres, kindergartens and schools where children play and study together in close proximity.
Some of the symptoms involve fever, blisters on hands and feet, ulcers in the throat, mouth and tongue, loss of appetite and vomiting and/or diarrhea.
There is no specific treatment for the infection other than symptomatic relief of symptoms. Treatment with antibiotics is not effective and is not indicated. If you suspect your child has HFMD, please bring him/her to see the family doctor.
Ease your child’s discomfort and help your child recover by:
- Encouraging your child to drink plenty of fluids
- Changing to a soft diet (e.g. porridge, pureed fruit) if the mouth ulcers are a problem
- Giving medications as prescribed by the doctor, e.g. paracetamol syrup to relieve fever and pain
- Ensuring your child gets plenty of rest by keeping him/her at home
Keeping Others Safe
If your child has HFMD, please help to prevent the spread of HFMD to others by:
- Sanitizing his toys, eating utensils and equipment such as strollers and car seats.
- Keeping him away from all public places including restaurants, playgrounds and shopping centres.
- Looking out for signs and symptoms in other family members, both children and the adults.
- Informing the school, kindergarten or childcare centre as soon as possible. They can monitor other children closely and take additional precautions to prevent the spread of HFMD.
- Keeping him at home until all the blisters have dried up and he has fully recovered.
It all starts with good hygiene habits.
Teach your children good hygiene practices like:
- Washing their hands with soap before eating and after visiting the toilet.
- Covering their mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing.
- Using their own eating utensils.
- Ensuring that toys or appliances that are contaminated by nasal or oral secretions are cleaned thoroughly before they are used again.
When you suspect your child has HFMD, DO NOT send your child to the centre or school. Take him/her to a family doctor for a thorough examination. If your child is diagnosed with HFMD, please keep him/her at home until fully recovered. Your child should return to the centre only after the expiry of the MC given by the family doctor when he/she is well.
This is why we believe it is so important to practice good hygiene habits all year round and not only when outbreaks happen whereby it would be too late.