At least four children have been hospitalised in the city after developing complications from Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.
Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease gets its name from the non-itchy rash that develops on the palms of hands and soles of the feet. It can also cause mouth ulcers make those who catch it feel generally unwell.
Highly contagious, the condition is common in children under ten years of age. However, adolescents and adults can also be affected.
Generally, Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is a mild and short-lasting illness and treatment is usually not needed as the body’s immune system clears the virus and symptoms go away after about seven to ten days.
The first symptoms include fever and feeling unwell, loss of appetite, lethargy, sore throat and small red spots in the mouth, throat and skin.
The sores can be extremely painful. There may also be a rash on the soles of the feet, the palms of the hands, and occasionally on the buttocks. The rash will first look like flat red spots and that will then become raised and may blister.
The viruses causing it are spread through coughs or sneezes.
There is no specific treatment for the condition. As it is caused by a viral infection, it cannot be treated with antibiotics.
Symptoms can be eased by resting, drinking plenty of fluids and taking children’s paracetamol to relieve pain and bring down a temperature.
The pain of mouth ulcers can be numbed with anaesthetic mouthwashes or sprays.
Complications can include dehydration, infection of the sores and – much more rarely – viral meningitis, which is an infection of the meninges, the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. In even rarer cases, it can lead to encephalitis, an infection that causes the brain tissue to swell and become inflamed, sometimes leading to brain damage death.
As it is extremely contagious, a child is diagnosed with HFMD, must be kept at home until they have fully recovered.
Make sure that proper hand washing techniques are followed by everyone who comes in contact with the child infected.