This pandemic primarily affects children

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Most of us wish that our children spend a joyous period of time in summer. However, summer brings about several diseases that may persist until beginning of autumn, just as common cold and influenza infections in winter. Pediatrician Figen Deniz from Adatıp Istanbul Hospital informs families about hand, foot and mouth disease that is very common in child in summer and that is highly contagious.

Fluctuating air temperature, spending more time with other child in parks and gardens, use of public or common pools and presence in crowded places, such as kindergarten and school, are inviting not only Covid-19, but also other contagious diseases. One of them is hand, foot and mouth disease. The disease is among most common causes of hospital admissions for children, especially the ones younger than 10, in summer and autumn. Pediatrician Figen Deniz from Adatıp Istanbul Hospital informs about hand, foot and mouth disease that is so quickly transmitted between children. Dr. Figen Deniz says “Hand, foot and mouth disease is a contagious condition caused by Coxsackie virus and it becomes a pandemic in summer and autumn. The disease is first manifested by fever that persists for 2 to 3 days. It is followed by aphthous lesions in mouth and soft palate. When fever regresses, red rashes appear around mouth, palms and soles and napkin areas”.

“The disease is usually not severe, but really contagious”

Stating that the hand, foot and mouth disease usually persists for one week on average, Dr. Figen Deniz adds that although the disease is not so severe, its infectivity rate is pretty high. Dr. Figen Deniz explains; “Hand, foot and mouth disease usually occurs during pool season in summer and it stays prevalent until autumn. It starts during pool season in summer, because the causative agent is an intestinal virus. It spreads through urine and feces in pools and the children are infected after such contaminated pool water is swallowed. The infected child transmits the disease to other children with droplets. Shared consumption of drinks by children and shared used of toys also facilitate spread of the disease”.

‘Hygiene’ is the most effective way of protection

Expressing that incubation period of hand, foot and mouth disease is several days, Dr. Figen Deniz specifies that a huge responsibility falls on families regarding protecting children from the disease, as there is no vaccine for the disease. “Most important way of protecting your child from the disease is hygiene and reduce contact of your child with other children. For this purpose;

  • Hands should be washed with water and soap after toilet or napkin is changed and before cooking or eating.
  • Hygiene of all materials, including toys, requires a great attention.
  • Shared use of certain belongings, such as plate, glass, fork, spoon and towels, should be avoided.
  • Daytime use of pools should be avoided and one should be attentive not to use pools with suspected hygiene.
  • Children should have the habit of wash hands frequently.” says Dr. Figen Deniz.

“Irrational use of medications may change course of the disease”

Clarifying that as is the case with all health problems, irrational use of medications may lead to serious side effects in hand, foot and mouth disease, Dr. Figen Deniz also informs “Since hand, foot and mouth disease is caused by a virus, symptomatic treatment is prescribed and antibiotics are not used. Aphthous lesions in throat may cause pain and lack of appetite especially in babies. In such cases, medications are prescribed for aphthae in mouth cavity. Skin rashes are in the form of stinging rather than itching. Since the stinging causes discomfort in children, it can be alleviated with therapeutic skin lotions”.

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