Hand, foot and mouth disease (PMD) especially worries parents when they see their feverish and sick children. A day or two after the onset of the disease, unusual spots and swellings appear on the child’s arms, legs and mouth. Although the rash usually disappears in a few days, some children eventually lose all their nails and feet in the process.
This frightening side effect of HFMD may seem daunting, but the lack of hands and nails usually grows after the condition is over. HFMD is transmitted through close contact with other people, as well as through the air, through coughing. Many people, without even realizing it, carry the virus, but never experience their symptoms.
Around the world
Although HFMD is widespread in the world, it usually occurs in smaller epidemics in day care centers or kindergartens. Virus attacks have been reported in Asia since 1997 and mainly occur during spring, summer and autumn. Perhaps the worst thing about HFMD is that it mostly affects children under the age of five.
The symptoms of this virus are not fun, and are characterized by fever, nausea, vomiting, feeling tired, general feeling weak, loss of appetite and irritability. Skin lesions that usually occur as a result of a rash may be accompanied by unpleasant vesicular ulcers with blisters on the palms and soles of the feet. The good news for children is that the rash usually does not itch, but conditions such as encephalitis, meningitis and paralysis can be a serious problem in the most extreme cases.
Although this viral infection is medically classified as mild, there is currently no specific treatment for it. Washing your hands often and avoiding close contact with people as much as possible is a way to be safe and free of viruses, but it is not nearly as practical in an environment like kindergarten. Although everyone wants to be safe and disease-free, this is not always an option.
One of the problems with the virus is that mouth ulcers can be so serious that a child cannot drink fluids, which poses a serious threat. In that case, you should contact a pediatrician as soon as possible to make an appointment. Also, if symptoms worsen after the first three days, seek medical attention.
One of the most serious side effects of HFMD is by far dehydration. It is vital to ensure that the child receives enough fluids and nutrition when trying to fight the virus. Keeping the house as clean as possible is also a good idea, as it prevents the virus from spreading in most cases.
There is nothing better than regular hand washing, especially after using the bathroom or changing diapers. If there is no soap and water, germ-killing wipes or alcohol gels are also a good alternative. Disinfect common areas such as the bathroom and kitchen and use a diluted solution of egg whites and water for best results.
The recent boom
According to a recent Foca report, doctors in several states said they saw an increase in cases of DMPM in children, but also in adults. Just a few weeks ago, two Major League Baseball players remained after being infected with the virus. Scott Norton, head of dermatology at the National Children’s Medical Center in Washington, explained that the common disease that affects children is relatively mild, although highly contagious.
Start of school
“As it spreads throughout the community, I think it’s important for families, schools and community leaders to understand that we have it now, especially at the beginning of the school year,” Norton said. “We don’t want to have epidemics when those children gather again, so I would like to find out that this is something we see in mid-August.
A common occurrence
According to Dr. Norton, viral infection is more common at this time of year, although he has noticed more cases than ever. Norton explained that he sees an average of two to three cases a day in his clinic, while the most severe cases receive 10 to 20 emergency visits every day. And because the disease can be transmitted in three different ways, it makes it an even more common occurrence.
Norton went on to explain the symptoms that usually occur when it comes to the virus. “It’s on the palms of the hands, feet and back of the hands and feet, and we especially see these very characteristic mini bubbles on the hands,” he said. “They’ll look like scattered dots, maybe three or four millimeters in diameter, and they usually have a very bright red border, but they’re completely painless.”
According to many, like Dr. Norton, the real problem with the virus is that it spreads so easily among humans, and especially among children. Others said that HFMD is transmitted by oral and nasal secretions. In addition, if a child coughs or sneezes near someone, it can be transmitted to them.
Through the bubbles
“The virus easily spreads to hard surfaces, such as toys and tables,” explained Dr. Heather Hawthorne, a family doctor from Doctor On Demand. “An infected person can transmit fluid from blisters from the rash, mucus in the nose, saliva, and even in contact with feces.” It is important for parents to teach their children to wash their hands often and properly to prevent infection. Effective hand washing means moistening your hands with water, applying soap and exfoliating for at least 20 seconds ”.
Perhaps the positive side of this, if it can be called that, is the fact that the virus rarely negatively affects adults, leaving them to look after their children, which will irritate them for days. “Although it is more common in children, adults can also become infected,” Hawthorne said. However, your illness is usually milder. Sometimes they have no symptoms, but they can still transmit the infection to others. ”
One of the things that makes HFMD even more complicated is the fact that, even after the symptoms are completely cured, the child can still transmit the virus to others through the stool. If you have a lot of small children at home or in kindergarten, it pays to keep it as clean as possible so that things stay germinated and prevent more children from getting sick.
Many parents only give their children painkillers and sedatives occasionally, and only in emergencies. If your child has DMPM, they probably need to get through the most difficult days. Cold drinks and juice are also a great idea to keep children hydrated, neglecting the sugar content in favor of a bigger problem. After the wound, the child should start drinking water as usual.
School is missing
Another unfortunate side effect of the virus is that your child will probably need to miss school for up to two weeks for the disease to continue. Not only does this increase a child’s frustration because he is sick all these days, but it also means that he may lag behind in his studies, leading to even greater frustration. Even for parents who study at home, most children cannot concentrate on anything but discomfort for at least a week.
Although the full experience ends in a few weeks in most cases, there have been more extreme cases of DMPM over the years. As with other viruses, different parts of the body can become infected, including the spine and brain. If this possibility occurs, you may see something even more serious, such as meningitis or encephalitis.
One more time
Unlike chickenpox, HFMD is a recurrent virus that can infect the same child several times. As children slowly develop appropriate antibodies to fight the disease, they reduce their chances of getting the disease again, but there are no guarantees. The fact that siblings are usually infected at home is good for some parents and not so good for others, depending on the circumstances.
Many parents have learned a lesson when it comes to caring for a child with PMD. Although a one-week or two-week test is often stressful for everyone, when the symptoms disappear and the virus leaves the system, life goes on normally.