When children start going to school, they may face illnesses that are more easily transmitted. Hand, foot, and mouth disease is one of the diseases that is easily spread and commonly found in children under 5 years old. This article will help you know more about this disease and how to prevent it from your beloved children.
What is Hand, foot, and mouth disease?
Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is caused by viruses. It is often found in infants and children younger than 5 years old. However, this disease can also be found in older children and adults. Typical symptoms are fever, mouth sores, blisters inside the mouth, and skin rash.
The incubation period of hand, foot, and mouth disease is about 1 week after exposure. Therefore, it can be contagious without symptoms.
What are the causes?
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is caused by viruses that belong to the Enterovirus family. Most of them are Coxsackievirus A16, Coxsackievirus A6, and Enterovirus 71. During the first week of exposure is usually the most contagious period. The highest prevalence is during the rainy season (May-October).
What are the symptoms?
The initial symptoms of the disease are as follows:
- Reduced appetite
- Sore throat
- Feeling of being unwell (malaise)
One or two days after the fever starts, the pain will begin in the mouth. There are small red spots, often in the back of the mouth, that blister can become painful. It causes pain rash on the palms and soles of the feet, which will gradually increase. It may have a flat rash, red spots or blisters. Occasionally it may also spread to the knees, elbows, buttocks and genital area.
In young children, dehydration may occur. If they are unable to eat or swallow enough liquids due to sores in the mouth, you should consult a doctor immediately to treat all symptoms.
All of the above symptoms can be found in most children. In the event of viral infection in adults may have only a few symptoms or show no symptoms at all. And only a small portion of the symptoms are severe. However, the virus can also spread to others.
How it spreads?
The virus can spread easily both through the respiratory system from exposure to saliva, phlegm, mucus and the digestive system from touching the patient's feces. Furthermore, it can also be contacted through touching toys, water and food contaminated with the virus as well.
How is it treated?
There is no specific treatment, only symptomatic treatment. You can reduce the severity of the disease as follows;
- Use painkillers such as paracetamol, ibuprofen. Avoid the use of aspirin in children.
- Avoid hot drinks, soda, acidic foods, salty foods and extremely spicy foods
- Wash out mouth after eating or use throat spray to reduce sores in the mouth
- Can eat ice cream or drinking cold drinks or reduce sores in the mouth
- Should eat liquid food that doesn't need to be chewed a lot to reduce the use of oral food in chewing
- If a person has mouth sores, it might be painful for them to swallow. However, it is important for people with hand, foot, and mouth disease to drink enough liquids to prevent dehydration (loss of body fluids). If a person cannot swallow enough liquids to avoid dehydration, they may need to receive them through an IV in their vein.
How to prevent?
The easiest way to prevent hand, foot, and mouth disease is to always make yourself healthy by doing the following;
- Wash your hands frequently with soap for at least 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers and using the toilet. If there is no hand soap, you are able to use alcohol gel.
- Clean the area and objects frequently especially toys
- Avoid close contact such as kissing, hugging
- Do not share the equipment with the infected person, especially dishes, bowls, spoons, glasses of water.
- Children should stop studying to prevent spreading of the disease. They should wait until the fever is gone and there are no mouth ulcers.
Moreover, a vaccine for preventing hand, foot, and mouth disease is now available. You can consult with your healthcare professional about hand, foot, and mouth disease vaccination.
What is the hand, foot, and mouth disease vaccine?
Hand, foot, and mouth disease vaccine that available in Thailand is an inactivated enterovirus type 71 (EV71) vaccine. This vaccine can induce immunity against EV71 to prevent hand, foot, and mouth disease caused by infection of EV71 only. It cannot be used for the prevention of hand, foot, and mouth disease caused by other enteroviruses (including Coxsackievirus A16 and etc.).
A randomized controlled trial study showed that the vaccine efficacy against EV71-associated hand, foot, and mouth disease was 97.3% after primary immunization in one year, and 93.77% during the second year after the primary immunization.
Who should get the hand, foot, and mouth disease vaccine?
The vaccine is suitable for children from 6 months to 5 years old. Primary immunization is 2 doses intramuscularly, at an interval of one month.
What are the possible side effects of hand, foot, and mouth disease vaccine?
The incidence of adverse reactions can be described as follows;
- Very common (≥10%): fever
- Common (1-10%):
- Local reaction: pain, erythema, swell, induration
- Systemic reaction: decreased appetite, irritability, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fatigue
- Uncommon (0.1-1%): Local reaction: pruritus
For more information, please contact us at Drug Information Service Bumrungrad International Hospital all 24 hours.
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