HFMD precautions for children that every parent needs to know

HFMD precautions for children that every parent needs to know

Everything you need to know about HFMD and its preventive measures

HFMD

The surge of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) in Malaysia has become a matter of serious concern. The country is on alert as more than 33,000 cases have been recorded nationwide to date. Children under the age of five are highly susceptible to the disease with cases being reported at daycares, nurseries and kindergartens across the country.

Here’s what you need to know about HFMD.

What is HFMD?

HFMD or the Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is a contagious infection caused by viruses from the Enterovirus genus, most commonly Coxsackievirus A16 and Enterovirus 71. The virus is found in secretions from the nose and throat such as nasal mucus or saliva, blister fluid and stool.

How does HFMD spread?

The disease spreads by direct contact with the infected person, the air after sneeze or cough of an infected person or touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands after coming in contact with contaminated surfaces or feces.

What are the symptoms of the disease?

Though it usually affects infants and children below the age of 5, it can also occur in adults and older children. The signs and symptoms of the disease generally include fever, loss of appetite, headache, sore throat, red rashes on the palms of hands and the soles of the feet, and irritability. It usually begins with fever and red rashes or blisters are observed in the following days.

Though every infected person might not suffer from all of the symptoms, it is good to seek medical attention if you observe any of these signs in your children.

A little boy wearing a white t-shirt thinking about something sadly due to hfmd.

How is the disease diagnosed?

The hand, foot and mouth disease can be diagnosed through physical examination by the doctor who will check the appearance of common symptoms. The doctor or health care professional may also collect a sample from the infected person’s throat or stool to test for the virus.

What precautions can be taken to prevent HFMD?

The Health Ministry has been informing the people about the current situation of the HFMD outbreak and the health authorities have advised the people, especially the parents to play an active role in the control and prevention on the disease starting from themselves and their homes. Parents can take these precautions to prevent the disease.

Wash hands regularly

The best way to prevent HFMD is to practice good hygiene both inside and outside the house. Washing your hands on a regular basis can reduce the chances of coming in contact with the virus. Teach the children to wash hands before eating, after using the washroom and after coming home from outside.

A toddler wearing a blue shirt lying near a blue toy bus due to hfmd.

Disinfect the home

Make sure that all the shared places in the house are cleaned on a regular basis by using a disinfectant. It is also important to keep objects like toys and pacifiers clean as they may be contaminated with the virus. Teach the children not to put any toys, other objects or their fingers in their mouth.

Do not ignore symptoms

Parents should not ignore symptoms like fever, vomiting, rashes or lethargy in the child. Please take your child to the nearby healthcare centre and get the required treatment. Also, do not take the children with HFMD or possible symptoms to any public places, daycare, kindergarten or schools as it might spread the disease to others.

Avoid sharing food and other items

It is good to avoid sharing food, drinks, utensils, clothes, toys, towels and similar objects with others during this time.

What precautions can be taken by preschools?

Considering the fact that HFMD majorly affects children under the age of 5 and is easily spread in places where children gather such as kindergartens and daycare, preschools have a major role to the play in the control and prevention of the disease.

  • Preschools should take special care to maintain high standards of hygiene and both at a personal and environmental level. Teachers and staff are advised to wash their hands on a regular basis, especially after using the washroom, changing the diapers of children or accidentally touching the blisters.
  • All the objects, toys or materials used by children including the floor and the toilets should be cleaned and disinfected regularly.
  • There should be a proper facility for the disposal or waste and diapers to reduce the risk of the disease.
  • Schools are recommended to conduct screening for any HFMD symptoms before the children enter the premises.
How to keep your child healthy at preschool?

How to keep your child healthy at preschool?

7 tips to keep your child healthy at preschool

Unlike your home where you can control the environment for your little one, you cannot do so in a school or a daycare. The environment will be standard for all children. This is a reason why many children fall sick again and again after starting preschool, especially if they have a weak immune system. That is why at The children’s house we are very particular about hygiene. Here are some suggestions on how to keep your child healthy at preschool.

Washing hands

According to almost all doctors across the world, unhygienic hands are one of the main ways of spreading bacteria. Therefore, teach your children to wash hands every time they sit down to eat or use a restroom, or after wiping their nose. And this applies to adults as well. The school and daycare staff should be doing the same each time they feed a child, or change a diaper or use the restroom. You can stay back a bit at the school or daycare and see if this is being followed. If not, please raise your concern to the head of the preschool. As a parent, you have every right to do so.

Ensure that your child is active

Exercise is good for everybody. This holds true for children, too. There have been various studies on this subject that have shown that an active child has approximately 25% less chance of being down with cold or flu because of higher circulation of infection-fighting cells. To ensure that your child is active, take her to parks and play outdoor games with her. They are also great ways of bonding with your child.

Pink smoothies garnished with berries for healthy.

A nutritious diet

A healthy diet from an early age will go a long way in building the health of your child. Unfortunately, thanks to smart advertising, children are enticed into thinking junk food is the most delicious thing in the world . But did you know, even coke has a ‘not recommended for children’ written in small letters on its labels? Try to prepare alternatives at home that look and feel like ‘fun’ food. There’s plenty of ideas available online that will help you whip up something interesting for your children. Let them get excited about what’s cooking at home.

Ensure plenty of sleep

A child’s brain matures as they sleep. This is a proven way of developing the pituitary gland functions. Ensure your child gets enough sleep every night. Sleep deprivations increase the chance of catching a cold manifold.

A child in deep sleep with her brown teddy for healthy.

Good manners

While you don’t want your child to get contaminated, you should also ensure that your child is not doing the spreading of bacteria to others. Teach them to cover their mouth every time they cough or sneeze. And not with the palm of their hand but with the crook of their arm. Most importantly you should do the same yourself. Children learn a lot through watching mum and dad. 

Follow up on vaccinations

Ensure your child has all the necessary vaccinations as suggested by your doctor. Vaccinations are important in ensuring your child doesn’t fall ill unnecessarily. Speak to your doctor to find out what’s best for your child.

Know sick policies

As a parent, it is extremely important for you to know the sick policies of the preschool or daycare. You don’t want your child to play with a child who has a pink eye or is down with the flu, and in turn, get infected. Therefore know what are the sick policies of the preschool so you can follow the policy when your child is down with an illness.

Following these simple steps can go a long way in having a healthy child.