Preschools urged to maintain good hygiene amid HFMD

Ling said sharing of toothbrushes, towels and utensils should be avoided.

PRESCHOOLS are reminded to maintain good hygiene and be alert for the spread of the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) as the number of cases in Johor has risen by almost seven-fold this year.

State health and unity committee chairman Ling Tian Soon said in the 18th week of the year, 640 HFMD cases had been recorded, compared to 94 in the corresponding period last year.

He said while the increase was expected following the relaxation of Covid-19 regulations and standard operating procedures, the figure was lower than the 1,015 cases recorded during the pre-pandemic period in 2019.

“Based on this year’s numbers, 96% (614 cases) occurred at childcare centres among children aged up to six, followed by children aged between seven and 12 (22), and teenagers aged 13 and above (four).

“A majority of HFMD cases broke out at preschools while others were reported in kindergartens, residential areas and childcare centres.

“As most of the cases occurred at childcare institutions, the state Health Department has advised operators to take precautionary measures to minimise the risk of HFMD infections,” he said.

Ling reminded operators to ensure good personal hygiene by washing hands with clean water and soap, especially after using the bathroom, before preparing and consuming food, after diaper changes and when coming into contact with faeces.

He said sharing of personal hygiene products such as toothbrushes, towels and utensils should be avoided.

“Toys and surfaces such as tables, chairs and floors should be cleaned frequently besides checking for HFMD symptoms such as fever and rashes or blisters on the hands, feet, mouth and tongue, before allowing anyone to enter these facilities.

“Those with young children also have the responsibility of stopping the spread of the disease.

“Parents and guardians should avoid taking their children to public or crowded places such as swimming pools, malls and bus stations, especially if they have HFMD symptoms,” added Ling.

In such instances, adults should immediately take the child to a clinic or hospital.

The virus spreads upon contact with bodily fluids.

Ling said almost all HFMD patients recover without medical treatment in seven to 10 days.

However, if left untreated, the virus could cause complications to the brain, lungs and heart, he added.

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