Just a few days ago, I read a post from a local mommy group that several children in Metro Manila were affected by HFMD (Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease). I was quite surprised because there wasn’t anything on the news websites. I immediately did a quick research on how to handle HFMD.
One concerned mom just asked a question if HFMD is rampant again, and soon after a lot of moms responded and shared their story that some of their little ones (LOs) have gotten HFMD or just recently recovered from the disease.
As a mom, it is quite alarming to me because I always want my children to be safe from any kind of disease. I’m sure all moms feel the same way. Whether your child has experienced HFMD or not, it is always best to keep our children protected from any illnesses out there. It’s part of our job as supermoms (Yes, we are!) to take precaution and implement the necessary steps to keep our children same from HFMD.
So, let’s quickly run through the best ways on how to handle HFMD.
1. First, prevention is key!
HFMD is a contagious viral infection that is common in infants and young children. In the Philippines, the largest number of cases is among 0-4 years old. It is easily spread from one child to another if we do not protect ourselves properly.
Young children are easily affected because they do not have a strong immune system to combat the viruses that cause HFMD. Though HFMD can be nerve-wracking for us moms, it is still considered a mild illness and most children recover completely from HFMD within 7-10 days without any treatment or medication.
What are the best ways to prevent HFMD?
- Teach our children to wash their hands frequently. I teach my children to wash their hands before and after they do activities and meal times. A good practice that I taught my child since she was 3 years old is to sing a “Happy Birthday” tune while washing her hands. This allows her to wash her hands thoroughly and ensure she rubs the soap on her hands well. Remind your child to soap each finger and their entire hand while singing the “Happy Birthday” tune. Hand washing now becomes a fun activity for them!
- If your child eats their snacks or lunch at school, teach them not to share plates, cups and eating utensils with anyone. This prevents spreading of the disease in some ways. Ask the kids to also keep their hands away from their eyes, nose and mouth.
- Regularly disinfect your children’s belongings and most surfaces that they play on. Keep a clean home by disinfecting regularly. Some moms disinfect their children’s toys by using a UV sterilizer.
- Boost your children’s immune system by making sure that they take the necessary vitamins to keep them strong and healthy. Many moms have their own favorite multi-vitamin brands. For me, I make sure that my children eat their share of fruits and vegetables at home.
- Drink lots and lots of water! We always need to stay hydrated, especially on hot days. Since our body is made up of mostly water, we need water to help our cells, tissues and organs function properly.
- Give yourselves and your little ones a bath after coming home from visiting schools and public places. This ensures we wash off any bacteria we may have picked up from other places.
2. Avoid exposure
Since hearing the news, we have been avoiding crowded public places and play areas! Moms have shared that their children have contracted the disease from groceries, mall restaurants or common play areas.
During times where HFMD is rampant, it is best to just avoid being exposed to this disease by staying away from places where it can easily spread. There are all sorts of people in these public places that could easily be carriers of HFMD.
My motto here is, “Better be safe than sorry.” I would rather give up a day at the mall to keep my children safe.
3. Learn to recognize the symptoms
To learn how to handle HFMD well, our job as moms is to be aware of HFMD symptoms so we can take action promptly.
Common symptoms of HFMD include:
- Sore throat
- Poor appetite and difficulty swallowing food and water, which may lead to dehydration
- Painful sores inside the mouth
- Blisters on palms of hands and soles of feet
Usually, HFMD starts with fever and sore throat then the sores and blisters appear 1-2 days later. When you see these symptoms manifest, immediately isolate the affected child and call your doctor to schedule a visit.
4. Visit a doctor immediately
Once you confirm that your child has HFMD, make a visit to your pediatrician immediately. As HFMD is viral, there is no specific medication for it. The doctor may usually prescribe ointments to relieve the symptoms from the sores and blisters. If fever persists, the doctor may also prescribe pain relievers. It is best that we follow the prescription of our doctors. They know the best treatment for our children, depending on our child’s conditions from HFMD.
5. Be a responsible mama
It can be heartbreaking to see our children battle HFMD. As we wait for our children to recover, we need to make sure that we don’t spread the disease to other children or adults.
In our home, isolate the affected child and continuously disinfect our home. Don’t share utensils and as much as possible, reduce the contact of your other children with their affected sibling. Let the affected child stay home during the recovery period and don’t let him or her go to school for the time being.
Adults can get HFMD, too. We also need to continue to boost our immune system, hydrate well and keep ourselves clean.
Ask the doctor when it’s safe to take the affected child out to school or public places.
Mommy, now that you learned 5 quick ways on how to handle HFMD, share it with a mommy friend who needs it.
It definitely takes a village to raise our children. Helping other moms how to handle HFMD is a huge benefit to our community. Thanks mama!
READ MORE: Some moms use essential oils to ease their child’s pain from the sores and blisters of HFMD. Read about one mom’s journey on essential oils here.