Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease in Singapore: What exactly is it?

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) may sound like a playful childhood ailment, but it’s no laughing matter. HFMD is a viral illness that is highly contagious and can affect anyone, but is most common in children under the age of 5. In Singapore, HFMD outbreaks occur annually, with cases peaking from May to July. So, what exactly is HFMD, and how can you protect yourself and your loved ones from this disease?


  What is HFMD?

HFMD is caused by a group of viruses, most commonly the Coxsackievirus. It is spread through contact with saliva, fluid from blisters, or fecal matter. Symptoms include fever, sore throat, and painful blisters on the hands, feet, and mouth. While it is usually a mild illness that resolves on its own, in rare cases, it can lead to more serious complications, such as meningitis.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, Singapore has experienced seasonal outbreaks of HFMD since the early 2000s. In 2018, there were over 35,000 reported cases of HFMD in Singapore, with children under the age of 5 being the most affected.


Prevention is Key

Preventing HFMD starts with proper hygiene practices. Frequent handwashing, especially after using the toilet or changing diapers, can help prevent the spread of the virus. Disinfecting surfaces, toys, and other objects that may be contaminated with the virus is also crucial.
In addition, avoiding close contact with infected individuals, staying home when sick, and practicing good respiratory hygiene (such as covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing) can also help prevent the spread of HFMD.


Treatment and Management

There is no specific treatment for HFMD, as it is a viral illness that typically resolves on its own. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help manage symptoms such as fever and sore throat. It is important to stay hydrated and eat soft, bland foods to avoid irritating the blisters in the mouth.

If symptoms worsen or persist, seeking medical attention is recommended. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary.



In Conclusion

While HFMD may seem like a harmless childhood ailment, it is important to take it seriously and take preventative measures to avoid the spread of the virus. Practicing good hygiene, avoiding close contact with infected individuals, and seeking medical attention when necessary can help manage the symptoms of HFMD and prevent the spread of the virus. So, let’s all do our part to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy and HFMD-free!

If you or your loved ones are experiencing symptoms of HFMD, please don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor about it – professional advice is highly advised! If you would like to speak with one of our doctors, please contact us today!

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