Published: 25th June 2022
Reopening of schools, weather changes lead to rise in Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease in Bengaluru children
According to Dr Mahesh Kumar, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Narayana Health City, HFMD (Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease) is highly contagious
Reopening of schools offline, early onset of pre-monsoon showers and climate change have resulted in rapid spread of infections, especially Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD), among children below 12 years of age this year.
Paediatricians and doctors in Bengaluru-based hospitals report an average of 10 to 15 cases of HFMD per day. A common monsoon virus called cox sackie virus/cox sackie virus A16 is causing this, experts say.
According to Dr Mahesh Kumar, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Narayana Health City, HFMD is highly contagious and spreads from one child to another in places like playgrounds and nurseries. It spreads not just through close contact, but contaminated objects too, he said.
"The illness spreads especially with an infected person's nasal secretions or throat discharge, saliva or mucus, fluid from blisters, stool, respiratory droplets are sprayed into the air after coughing or sneezing," added Dr Ramu D S, senior consultant and paediatrician, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital.
What to look out for
Symptoms begin to show up two days after getting infected. They include red rashes without itching on palms and soles, which develop into blisters, are usually confined to the hand, foot and mouth, and rarely spread to other parts of the body. This is accompanied by fever, reduced appetite, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and sometimes, irritability. On developing a fever, painful sores called herpangina may appear at the back of the mouth. The red blister-like lesions may appear on the tongue and gums too, and the infection may last for 8-10 days.
Children with HFMD should be isolated and kept out of school until the fever subsides and mouth sores are healed, the experts said.
Preventive methods you can adopt
- Maintain good hand hygiene by frequently washing hands
- Wear a mask
- Keep surroundings clean
- Eat healthy home-cooked food and fruits
- Child care centres should clean and disinfect common areas and shared items such as toys, as the virus can live on them for days