Health & Wellness Child Developement
HFMD Prevention Tips
What is HFMD?
HFMD is endemic in Singapore, which means it can occur all year round. The mild disease, which is easily spread among children through saliva, mucus or other bodily fluids, is caused by viruses that belong to the enterovirus group, such as the Enterovirus 71 (EV-71) and the Coxsackievirus. EV-71, the more virulent of the two, is associated with brain and nervous system complications, and is responsible for most of the HFMD-related deaths recorded here. The current epidemic in Singapore is caused by the relatively milder Coxsackievirus.
There is no specific treatment for HFMD, but medication is available to relieve the fever and pain. Resting at home and drinking plenty of fluids will aid the recovery process. If mouth ulcers are a problem, a soft diet with food like porridge may be easier to consume.
Watch out too, for other symptoms as hospitalisation may be required for more severe cases or complications, said Dr Ng Chung Wai, Senior Consultant and Family Physician, SingHealth Polyclinics (Outram), and Chairman, SingHealth Polyclinics Infectious Diseases and Infection Control Committee, a member of the SingHealth group.
Breaking the chain of transmission is also crucial. You can help prevent the spread of HFMD to others by staying away from public places, avoiding close contact with family members, keeping your belongings such as towels, clothes and eating utensils separate and only going back to work once all the blisters have dried up.
Here are some HFMD prevention tips:
What should I do if I contract HFMD?
The disease is self-limiting, which means it will usually clear up in five to seven days. During that period, you should ensure you get enough rest and fluids. Change to a soft diet if mouth ulcers cause too much pain.
What complications should I look out for?
- Shortness of breath
- Drowsiness and disorientation
- Severe headache
- Neck stiffness
- Poor oral intake
See a doctor immediately if such signs are observed.
Disclaimer: All HealthXchange articles are intended for general information only and provided on the understanding that no surgical and medical advice or recommendation is being rendered. Please do not disregard the professional advice of your physician.
As Singapore's first interactive health and lifestyle resource portal developed by SingHealth,HealthXchange.sg provides comprehensive, relevant and trusted health and medical information for Singaporeans and the Asian community.
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