CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – More than 400 residents, mostly children in Central Luzon have been infected with hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD).
The Department of Health Central Luzon Center for Health Development (DOH CLCHD) said 408 HFMD cases were recorded from Jan. 1 to Feb. 4 with the province of Bulacan having the highest number at 243.
Kathleen Rodriguez, the program coordinator for Food and Waterborne Diseases under the DOH CLCHD, on Tuesday advised the public to take precautions against HFMD as everyone is susceptible to acquiring the viral infectious disease.
“Lahat tayo ay susceptible magkaroon ng HFMD but mas common ito sa mga school-aged children at mga bata na edad 5 years old and below (All of us are susceptible of having HFMD but this is most common to school-aged children and those kids aged 5 years old and below),” Rodriguez said in a radio interview.
She cited the importance of good personal and environmental hygiene as a preventive measure since there are no medical treatments or vaccines against HFMD.
“The number one line of defense is to wash our hands regularly and to keep our surroundings clean,” she said.
Rodriguez likewise urged the public to avoid sharing personal belongings to prevent the spread of the disease.
“The HFMD is a contagious viral infection. It is transmissible through direct contact, from person to person. Thus, let us avoid sharing especially our personal belongings,” she said.
HFMD can spread through direct contact with the infected person, contaminated surfaces, or infected fecal material and respiratory droplets.
Likewise, she advised parents to isolate their children if they have signs and symptoms of the viral disease to prevent further spread.
“Panatilihin natin sila sa bahay, lalo na kung sila ay nakakaramdam ng sintomas. Let us isolate them para hindi na makahawa pa sa mga ibang bata. Huwag na nating ilabas pa or ipasyal sa mga pampublikong lugar (Let us stay them at home, especially if they are experiencing symptoms. Let us isolate them so that they could not infect other children. Let us not go out them in public places),” she added.
Symptoms of HFMD include fever, sore throat, painful, blister-like lesions on the tongue, gums and inside of the cheeks, rash on the palms, soles and sometimes the buttocks and loss of appetite.
To enhance awareness about HFMD, she said the DOH has been collaborating with the Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education since last year to cascade information on how to avoid and reduce the cases. (PNA)