In an effort to stem the spread of a common viral illness that usually affects children under the age of five years old, a Hamad Medical Corp. doctor has offered several pieces of advice.
According to Dr. Hussam Al Soub, senior consultant in medicine and infectious diseases, hand, foot and mouth disease begins with a fever, poor appetite, malaise and a sore throat.
It can progress to blister-like sores in the mouth and a skin rash on the palms, soles, limbs and buttocks. There is no medicine to treat the virus, but here are some tips on prevention and illness management:
- Understand the incubation period. It usually takes three days from when the virus is acquired before symptoms appear, and a person with HFMD is contagious until about a week after that. They are usually no longer contagious after the rash clears up.
- Keep it from spreading by minimizing affected children’s interactions with other kids. The virus is passed from person to person by direct contact with nose and throat discharges, blisters and feces, including through diapers and contaminated surfaces and objects.
- Wash any soiled clothing and any surfaces or toys that may have been contaminated to keep siblings from getting the virus.
- Wash hands with soap and water after going to the toilet, before eating and after wiping your nose. Consider using hand washing songs, posters, stickers, reward charts and other forms of encouragement to get kids to maintain good washing habits.
- Teach children to avoid sharing cups, eating utensils and personal hygiene items.
Has your child ever experienced HFMD? Thoughts?