Hand Foot Mouth Disease

What is it?

Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a contagious infection which is caused by viruses from the Enterovirus genus.

How is it transmitted?

The viruses will spread from person to person through direct contact via unwashed hands or surfaces contaminated with faeces. It is also transmitted through saliva or respiratory secretions.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms begin to develop 3 to 6 days after getting infected. During the incubation period, the affected person will experience:

  • fever
  • decreased appetite
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • painful red blisters in the mouth
  • red rashes on the hands and soles of feet

Risks of Hand Foot Mouth Disease

Serious complications involving the nervous system and heart can occur, but are rare.

What is the treatment?

As hand, foot and mouth disease is a mild disease, therefore no specific treatment is available. However treatment can be given to the patient to relieve the symptoms of the disease.

How to prevent transmission?

  • Maintain good practices of personal hygiene and environment cleanliness to minimise transmission of the disease.
  • Wash hands with soap frequently before eating and after going to the toilet
  • Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away immediately
  • Do not share food, drinks, cutlery, toothbrush or towel with anyone.
  • Parents should ensure that toys or appliances that are contaminated by nasal or oral secretions are cleaned and disinfected before using it again.

Sources

https://www.healthline.com/health/hand-foot-mouth-disease

https://www.moh.gov.sg/diseases-updates/hand-foot-and-mouth-disease

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hand-foot-and-mouth-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353035

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