Rapid spread of hand, foot and mouth disease, greater threat to kids

Hands of a child with hand, foot, and mouth disease.

Paediatrician at Indira Gandi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) Dr Ahmed Faisal on Wednesday noted that while there is a rapid spread of hand, foot, and mouth disease in the country, it poses the greatest threat to children.

On Tuesday, November 22, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) issued a statement urging the public to exercise caution over this disease quickly spreading.

In their statement, HPA noted that hand foot and mouth disease is a contagious disease that is spread through a virus, and though anyone can contact the virus, there is an increased chance of transmission of the disease in places where children gather in crowds.

Speaking about this disease with Sun, Dr Faisal said that it was important to isolate from areas where children gather if contracted the virus.

Furthermore, he stressed the importance of cleaning areas frequently touched, as well as paying extra caution towards hand hygiene.

“The other thing is not to take (children) to school when sick. The main steps are the same as those to prevent Covid-19. Especially since (there is a greater danger to) children, it is important for schools to teach not to touch mouth, nose, and eyes.”

In most cases, children admitted with this disease are due to dehydration, or high fever.

Symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, mouth sores and skin rash on hands and feet. The rash may turn to blisters later. Other symptoms also include fatigue and loss of appetite.

“Sometimes rashes will appear too. In different places. Sometimes on the mouth, sometimes on the hands. In some children, the rashes are all over the body. Chemical lotions are used when these appear.”

Dr Faisal went on to note that there is no direct cure for the disease and that the symptoms are individually treated as they appear.