FAQ about hand, foot and mouth disease

FAQ about hand, foot and mouth disease

FAQs about hand, foot and mouth disease

Why isn't hand, foot, and mouth disease talked about more?

The first reported case of hand, foot and mouth disease occured in 1956 in Australia. In comparison to measles, mumps and chickenpox, for example, this is a recent discovery. By the early 1960s, the virus was deemed a common childhood infection worldwide.

Due to this and the fact that it is a relatively mild virus with complications rarely arising, it is often overlooked when it comes to media attention.

Can adults get hand, foot and mouth disease?

Yes, adults can get hand, foot and mouth disease.  An adult who has been exposed to the HFMD virus may develop the typical signs and symptoms of the disease such as the vesicular rash (blisters on the skin) and fever. What is interesting is that most infected adults do not seem to show any symptoms, they are, however, still contagious and can spread the virus to another person.

How does hand, foot, and mouth disease affect pregnancy and the baby?

In most cases, HFMD affects children who are younger than 10 years of age. Adults who were exposed to the disease as children will have a natural immunity against it. The information on foetal exposure to the virus is limited. There is currently no solid evidence on its effects on the baby if the mother is infected with the virus. In cases when an infant is infected during the birthing process, he / she will be closely monitored as they may develop a severe infection that may affect some of the vital organs such as the heart, liver and brain, which can be fatal.

When can children with hand, foot, and mouth disease return to school?

Children can often return to school once the fever has subsided, this is normally within three to four days from the first signs of infection. If a child has prolific blisters then it is advisable to wait until these have dried before returning to school.

Is it possible to prevent hand, foot, and mouth disease?

Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent hand, foot and mouth disease. Following a regimen of strict hygiene is the primary and recommended strategy for limiting the spread of the virus. It is best to teach your child about the basics of hygiene. It is also advisable to avoid contact with anyone who is infected. If there are children infected at your child’s day-care, then speak to the teachers or assistants about disinfecting all toys and work surfaces as well as wearing disposable gloves when changing diapers.

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