Dr. Shivon Belle Jarvis, Head of Pediatrics at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre, is warning the public against the spread of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease.
Dr. Belle Jarvis is reminding parents, guardians and teachers that this is the time of year when medical professionals expect to see an increase in cases of this illness.
Hand Foot and Mouth Disease is a very contagious – although non-severe – illness that is caused by a virus. It primarily affects children under the age of 5 years, but can affect anyone, the doctor says.
Symptoms of this disease last for seven to 10 days, and they include fever; sores to the mouth; skin rashes, including to the palms, soles, buttocks and knees; sore throat; irritability; and decreased appetite.
Dr. Belle Jarvis advises parents to be on the lookout for some red flags: dehydration; reduced levels of alertness; symptoms persisting beyond 10 days; and a fever that lasts more than three days.
To effectively fight this disease, she says persons should wash their hands regularly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds; clean frequently touched surfaces, such as door knobs and desks; and keep children at home when they are ill.
She also advises that pre-school teachers use gloves when changing diapers.