Prevention of Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD)

Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is an infectious disease caused by enterovirus. Spring and summer is the season of high incidence of the disease, and in some areas there will be a small peak in autumn and winter. Most of the patients are children aged 5 years and below, and many cases occurred due to different types of enterovirus. Hand-foot-mouth disease is mostly self-limited and can heal itself in 7-10 days without treatment. Patients usually onset with fever, loss of appetite, poor spirit and sore throat, 1-2 days later, oral ulcers, palms, soles and buttocks appear red rash;some patients may develop only a rash without fever. A small number of patients develop severe cases, and very few die from severe complications.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is mainly spread through contact with mouth and nose secretions, herpes, feces, and contaminated toys, milk bottles, dining utensilsand other items.

If children are suspected of being infected with HFMD, they should seek medical treatment in time, and be isolated and treated at home or in hospital according to the medical advice. Currently, there is no specific antiviral drug availablefor this disease. Patients need to drink more water, and have adequate rest.Symptomatic treatments such as fever and analgesia can be performed. Children should not go to school or attend party events until the rash and blisters have dried upto avoid spreading the disease. If the agent is identified as enterovirus 71, the child should be isolated at home for a longer period of time until 2 weeks after the rash blister dries up. Parents should also pay close attention to the condition of the children, if the following conditions occur, it should be considered that the patient is a severely ill child and must seek medical treatment as soon as possible and effective treatment: such as persistent high fever, repeated vomiting, lethargy, easy to shock, irritability, hands and feet shaking, trunk ataxia, sudden limb weakness, shortness of breath or breathing difficulties and other symptoms.

Since there is no vaccine to prevent HFMD, good personal hygiene is the most important preventive measure. Specific measures are as follows:

  • Wash hands before meals and after using the toilet, and after handling vomit or changing diapers.
  • When sneezing or coughing, cover your mouth and nose with tissue paper (if no tissue paper is available, use your elbow), and throw the tissue paper into the trash can.
  • Do not share cleaning items (towels and spoons) with others.
  • Boil disinfect (water temperature greater than or equal to 560C) should be used to clean the toys contaminated by patients and other items that are often touched. . Furniture and toilets can be disinfected with bleach or ultraviolet radiation.
  • Avoid close contact with patients.

Commonly used therapeutic drugs are ribavirin, oseltamivir phosphate, ibuprofen tablets etc. That should be used under the guidance of a doctor.

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