IDENTIFYING HAND- FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE IN YOUR CHILD
APRIL 25, 2019 @ 7.25 PM
In January this year, the Labuan Health Department ordered two nurseries and a kindergarten to close for a week following reported cases of the Hand-Food-and-Mouth disease (HFMD).
This comes months after the Health Minister; Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad’s announcement that there were 51,147 cases of HFMD between Jan 1 and Aug 14, 2018.
What causes the outbreak
According to Dr Nazrul Neezam Nordin (pix), Pediatrician, Sunway Medical Centre, the epidemic caused by Enterovirus 71 (EV71) begins as small red spots, often in the back of the mouth.
“A skin rash on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet may also develop over one or two days as flat, red spots, sometimes with blisters. It may also appear on the knees, elbows, buttocks or genital area.
“Young children, may get dehydrated if they are not able to swallow enough liquids because of painful mouth sores.
“It typically affects children aged three to five years old, while children under the age of one and more than five years may also get infected. Usually no symptoms are visible in the early period until the fourth and fifth day when high fever and red spots start to appear,” he said.
Children suffering from this disease will be feverish for 48 to 72 hours. The red rash will also cause the child to itch. However, these symptoms will begin to recede by itself within a few days.
Treatment and how to control HFMD
HFMD can spread and infect via touch, saliva and stool. If sharing games, it's best to clean them first.
The HFMD virus can affect the brain where the patient can get seizures and become unconscious. Inflammation of the heart muscle can occur where the heart stops pumping blood well, and causes the lungs to be watery.
“Additionally, it can also cause complications to the liver. However, such cases are very rare,” Nazrul added.
There are no specific treatments but HFMD can be controlled with medication and drinking enough water. Breastfeeding should also be performed as usual to speed up the recovery process.
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