Hand foot mouth disease (HFMD)

HFMD has been on the news almost everyday lately. It’s interesting that it can be so contagious. Considering that usually it is children 5 years and below who are most likely to contract the virus. So I was surprised that even primary schools children were also affected, and class rooms, if not the whole school, had to close down for disinfection. To be honest, there is no guarantee your child won’t pick up the virus, even if your child only stays at home all day. Parents can bring home the virus after work. So parents need to clean themselves up too when they got home.

The best way to lower the risk of getting infected is to always wash your child’s hands with soap and water before they eat. Ingesting the virus is probably the likeliest way one can get infected. The virus is not air borne, I believe. And you won’t get infected by just coming into contact with the virus. The virus can’t penetrate your skin.

It is basically not practical to keep your child in the house all the time and never leave the house. So when you do bring your child out, remember to practise good hygiene. Some restaurants in shopping malls don’t have basins to wash hands so you may have to bring your child to the toilet. Liquid sanitiser can kill bacteria. But not viruses. Wipes might be a better option if there isn’t water source around to wash the hands clean. It’s the same when going to a playground. Always remember to wash hands after play. Parents too! If your child is still young, then you will need to keep an eye on your child so he won’t simply put his hands or fingers in the mouth. If the playground is outdoor then it may be a good idea to bring some water along for washing hands.

Last but not least, it is always better to boost your child’s immune system by getting him to eat healthily. So even if he’s infected, potentially by just a weakened virus (virus can’t survive on surfaces indefinitely), his immune system can fight off the virus.