Beware of Hand Foot and Mouth disease

2nd December 2015

Beware of Hand Foot and Mouth disease

The showers have been a welcome relief from the oppressive heat over the past one month in Tamilnadu, but they have also led to a host of viral infections spreading in Sivakasi and other towns. The weather has played between hot and rainy, doctors have seen a rise in the number of hand- foot-and-mouth disease cases among children.

Itchy lesions

The disease causes boils and itchy lesions to form around the foot, near the knee, from the elbows to the palms and in the mouth too. It is accompanied with a body ache and fever. Parents should not mistake it for chicken pox or measles.

An increase in the fluid intake, keeping the child at home and paracetamol to treat the fever can help manage the disease.

Other infections

Apart from hand-foot-and-mouth disease, Dr. Yamuna said patients with other infections such as viral pharyngitis (congested throat, mild fever and runny nose) and exanthema subitum (also a viral infection in which after a fever, red spots are seen around the neck) have also come in.

Diarrhoeal disorders and respiratory infections too are keeping doctors busy this season. “There has also been a slight increase in the number of dengue cases we are seeing,” said L.N. Padmasini of the Paediatric Medicine Department at Sri Ramachandra University.

Doctors say residents should stay at home if unwell, wash their hands regularly and drink a lot of liquids and make sure their water and food are hygienic to ensure that no secondary infection develops.

What is hand-foot-and-mouth disease?

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is a common viral illness that usually affects infants and children younger than five years of age. However, it can sometimes occur in adults. Symptoms of hand-foot-and-mouth disease include fever, blister-like sores in the mouth and a skin rashes.

How is it caused?

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is caused by viruses that belong to the Enterovirus genus (group). The illness spreads by person-to-person contact with an infected person’s nasal secretions or throat discharge, saliva, fluid from blisters, stool or respiratory droplets sprayed into the air after a cough or sneeze.

What are the symptoms?

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease symptoms include fever, sore throat, painful, red, blister-like lesions on the tongue, gums and inside of the cheeks, a red rash, without itching but sometimes with blistering, on the palms, soles and sometimes the buttocks, and loss of appetite.

How do you treat it?

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is usually a minor illness causing only a few days of fever and relatively mild signs and symptoms. Contact your doctor if mouth sores or a sore throat keep your child from drinking fluids or if symptoms worsen.

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is often confused with foot-and-mouth disease (also called hoof-and-mouth disease), a disease of cattle, sheep, and swine. However, the two diseases are caused by different viruses and are not related.

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