HFMD cases on the rise: Things you need to know

Given the recent increase in HFMD cases, there are a few things you need to know so as to stay safe from the ailment

Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) generally target young children and babies. As per medical professionals, the majority of patients recover within a week and the condition is self-limiting. The illness is spread through direct contact with the mucus, saliva, or faeces of an infected individual and is moderately contagious. HFMD cases have been reported as showing an increase in India, of late. 

It is particularly a viral fever that primarily affects children under the age of 10 and spreads through contact. The flu is named for the red blisters that occur on the hands, feet, forearms, and mouth. 

Symptoms Of HFMD  

The Coxsackie A16 enterovirus, which primarily affects children under the age of 10, is the most prevalent strain causing hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD). Incubation typically lasts 3 to 7 days. Fever is probably the first symptom, which is frequently followed by a sore throat.

Painful sores in the mouth or throat may develop one to two days after the start of the fever. The hands, feet, mouth, tongue, and inside of the cheeks, buttocks, knees, and elbows may all develop rashes.

Rashes appear on those who are afflicted with the virus. Some of them also express complaints of body aches, joint discomfort, cramping in the stomach, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, in addition to coughing, sneezing, and runny nose. 

Despite the possibility of severe symptoms, the disease is typically not hazardous, and hospitalization is not frequently needed. It takes about a week for it to stop being contagious. The skin sores would have dried by the time the fever had gone away.

How to prevent disease spread  

If someone has the infection, they must be shifted to isolation. To stop the flu from spreading, utensils, clothes, and other items used by infected people must be sanitized. 

Some schools have given parents advice to look for HFMD signs and to let the teacher know if their child has been diagnosed. Additionally, parents have been urged to hold off on sending their kids to school until the fever has decreased for at least 24 hours and the rash has totally healed. If a kid returns to the class before the contagious period for seven days after the onset of symptoms, the child should obtain a medical note from a consulting doctor declaring that he or she is not infectious or contagious.

The illness is contagious while being simple to detect clinically and requires no testing. It spreads through direct skin-to-skin contact as well as the respiratory route. The areas with the greatest spread are daycare centres and schools. It specifically targets children in school between the ages of 3 and 10. Due to constant interaction with infected siblings, even infants younger than a year are affected. 

Media reports said there was a “mysterious new viral outbreak” in India called the ‘tomato flu’. Doctors say this isn’t a new outbreak at all, but a variant of the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) circulating since 2001. My report for @bmj_latest https://t.co/Rl2c1WAT9B

— Kamala Thiagarajan (@Kamal_t) August 26, 2022

Consulting doctors is important if symptoms appear

Certain deadly illnesses have been eradicated thanks to increased vaccination awareness in developing countries like India and widespread immunisation campaigns. Virus-related diseases that had not previously been identified in the Indian population are now being diagnosed more frequently. Therefore, in order to diagnose the condition early and begin treatment right away, paediatric doctors or general doctors should be informed immediately regarding the child’s condition.