A paediatrician is asking parents to monitor closely their children as confirmed cases of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) continue to rise at educational institutions throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
In an interview with the Agency for Public Information, 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.
Andrews encouraged parents to keep children hydrated and increase their fluid intake, which is critical once they are ill.
She also advised caregivers of young children to sanitise and disinfect surfaces and toys continuously and to encourage proper hand washing “after using the potty, or for parents/caregivers after changing diapers”.
The paediatrician explained that though HFMD is a common viral illness among children aged birth to 7 years old, it can also occur in adults. And, while people are most contagious during the first week of contracting the disease, they can still be contagious for weeks after the symptoms go away, the physician said.
The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment said it is closely monitoring the situation and has advised that parents/caregivers should avoid sending children to day care and school if they are suffering from HFMD and to always follow safe hygiene practices.
HFMD usually presents 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.