Hand, foot & mouth disease alert issued

The original article can be found in: The Daily Herald

ANGUILLA–The Ministry of Health and Social Development’s routine surveillance has revealed an increasing number of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) cases diagnosed amongst school children.

HFMD is transmitted from person to person by direct contact with the fluid in blisters or from direct contact with secretions from the nose and throat.

Initial symptoms of HFMD often appear suddenly and include a mild fever and sore throat. A headache may also be present. One to two days later, the following symptoms develop:

– Painful ulcer-like blisters in the mouth – particularly on the lining of cheeks, roof of the mouth, gums and tongue.

– A rash with small fluid-filled blisters on the pads of the fingers and palms of the hands and/or soles of the feet. Occasionally the rash and blisters appear on the buttocks.

The ministry would like to stress the importance of maintaining high standards of personal and environmental hygiene to minimize the risk of HFMD. Parents should ensure that their children adopt the following good practices:

– Wash hands with soap before eating and after going to the toilet;

– Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away into a bin immediately;

– Avoid sharing eating utensils.

Parents should also ensure that toys or appliances that are contaminated by nasal or oral secretions are thoroughly cleaned with soap and water or a sanitizing agent before they are used again.

Parents should consult a doctor immediately if their child has fever, mouth ulcers or rashes on the palms, soles or buttocks. Children with HFMD should remain at home until all the blisters have dried up. During this period, contact with other children should be avoided until the child recovers. The child should not be brought to any public or crowded places. Proper hygiene should also be practiced at home, so as to prevent transmission to other family members.

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