Parents are asked to closely monitor their children as confirmed cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) continue to rise at educational institutions throughout the country.
In an interview with the Agency for Public Information, Pediatrician Dr. Sheri Ann Davis- Andrews advised that medical attention be sought, especially in cases where the diagnosis is unsure, or if the child is not eating or drinking well or if symptoms do not improve after treatment.
Dr Andrews encouraged parents to keep their children hydrated and increase their fluid intake, which is critical once they are ill. She also advised care givers of young children to continuously sanitize and disinfect surfaces, toys and to encourage proper hand washing “after using the potty, or for parents/caregivers after changing diapers”.
The Pediatrician explained that though Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is a common viral illness among children age zero (0) to seven (7) years, it can also occur in adults and though persons are most contagious during the first week of contracting the disease, they can still be contagious for weeks after the symptoms go away.
The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment is closely monitoring the situation and have advised that parents/caregivers should avoid sending children to daycare and school if they are suffering from HFMD and to always follow safe hygiene practices.
Hand, Foot and Mouth disease usually presents itself with sores/blisters that can appear in the palms and or soles of the feet, making it painful for children to even walk. The illness usually starts with a fever, sore throat, reduced appetite and a feeling of being unwell.