Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What Kind of Disease is HFMD?


A child infected with HFMD
Several weeks ago, HFMD (Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease) has been the talk of the town when actress and TV host, Ms. Kris Aquino admitted that her children have had HFMD. Many people have been wondering what this disease is and some have been alarmed and confused.

While watching Pinoy MD, I’ve learned that intestinal viruses of which, the most common are Coxsackie A and Enterovirus 71 cause HFMD. The disease usually affects infants and children and is moderately contagious. It spreads through direct contact with the saliva of feces of the infected patient. Although, it occurs mostly in children, older persons with weak immune system may also acquire the disease.

It is also important to stress that HFMD is different from the Hoof and Mouth Disease that plague swine and cattle.  

A child infected with HFMD would begin to have fever and sore throat. Normally, the child loses appetite and becomes melancholic. After two days, lesions or sores would appear on the hands, feet and mouth particularly inside the cheeks. The child may become irritable because of these painful sores. Occasionally, diarrhea may also follow.

Doctors treat patients with HFMD with the usual medical treatment for fever. It doesn’t require hospitalization. However, we have to be careful also because patients are susceptible to acquire infections, which may result in severe complications like viral meningitis or even encephalitis, which can be fatal. It can also result in paralysis and pulmonary hemorrhage.

I guess, cleanliness can prevent diseases like this. Wash hands thoroughly before eating and don’t experiment on medicines or self-medicate. Seek professional help when necessary. 


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