Hand foot and mouth disease – coxsackie virus

Hand foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a viral infection predominately seen in children (under 10 years) and young adults. The viral infection is very common, easily spread but rarely causes complications. 

Signs and symptoms

The following signs and symptoms generally develop three to seven days after exposure to an infected person, the duration of the virus is usually seven to ten days.

  • Fever.
  • Tiredness.
  • Poor appetite.
  • Complain of a sore throat.
  • Tiny blisters inside the mouth, including blisters around the tongue, palms, fingers, soles of the feet and the genital region.
  • The small blisters are generally not itchy like the chickenpox blisters.

hfmd 

F.A.Q’s

How does my child catch this virus?

When a child or young adult comes in contact with the fluid from inside the blisters, they will most probably become infected. Transmission is as simple as coming into contact with a droplet from a sneeze or cough. The virus is also known to be present in faeces for several weeks, so those with young babies be mindful when out and about using public nappy change facilities. 

Is there a vaccine or cure for the coxsakie virus?

There is currently no vaccine or cure for this common viral infection.

I’m pregnant, my toddler has the virus, will my unborn baby be safe?

There is no current evidence indicating the virus is a risk for pregnant women and their unborn baby.

What do I do if my child develops this common virus?

Being that HFMD is a virus, antibiotics will not be prescribed for this infection. The key management is making the child comfortable. Analgesia can be given for the pain and fever associated with the virus. Children will often complain of a sore throat and be off their food as the blisters are painful, so ensure you keep them comfortable and offer your child frequent sips of fluids to avoid dehydration.

Encourage your child to avoid touching and breaking the blisters, allow them to dry naturally.

Observe your child for signs their illness is not improving and if they complain of a headache, back pain or neck stiffness, seek medical advice immediately. 

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Q. How do I protect my family from germs?

 

A good hand washing technique is the first line of defence against the spread of many illnesses. The common cold, predominantly caused by the human rhinoviruses, to more serious illnesses such as meningitis, bronchiolitis, influenza, hepatitis A, and most types of infectious diarrhoea (norovirus).

To help minimise germs passed around your family and reduce the incidence of doctors visits, ensure frequent hand washing rules are in place.

Encourage your child to wash their hands after toileting, before eating/cooking, after touching animals and more frequently if they are unwell (coughing, sneezing, blowing their nose).

Make hand-washing fun! Wash your hands with your child; perhaps make a game of it, or make up a fun song!

“Wash, wash, wash our hands, rinsing off the germs, down they go, down they go, wash away the germs”.

Handwashing 

1. Wash hands in warm water. Ensuring the water isn’t too hot for little hands.

2. Use soap and lather up for around 20 seconds (antibacterial soap isn’t necessary — any soap will do). Make sure your child gets right in between the fingers, under their nails and last but not least, don’t forget the wrists.

3. Rinse and pat dry.

Don’t underestimate the power of hand washing! 

 

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Chest Rubs and Vapouriser Fluids

The Poisons Information Centre DOES NOT recommend the use of chest rubs, vapouriser or inhalant fluids, to treat coughs, colds, or for any other purpose.

Current recommendations suggest that chest rubs and vapouriser fluids do not have any proven benefit. Although they can make you feel as though your airways are clearing, this is due to the camphor, menthol and eucalyptus oil. These ingredients can often make nasal passages more sensitive to cool air.

According to the Poisons Information Centre, chest rubs and vapouriser fluids DO NOT have a decongestant effect and they do not make it easier to breathe.

The camphor and eucalyptus oil in chest rubs and vapouriser fluids are poisonous and can make children very sick if they swallow them. Each year the Poisons Information Centre send a number of children to hospital, after they have swallowed chest rub or vapouriser fluid.

If you think your child has swallowed a chest rub or vapouriser fluid contact the Poisons Information Centre immediately. Be safe and do not have chest rubs or vapouriser fluid in the house. For further information about chest rubs and vapouriser fluids, or other poisons, ring the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Did you know?

  • Current recommendations suggest ‘steam’ therapy, including vapourisers to be of NO benefit.
  • Steam vapourisers are regarded as dangerous because of accidental burns, so are NOT advised.
  • 50% of burns seen in children are from scalds. 
foto_humidificador01_gran
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The power of the cold pack! 

 

Cold packs are an essential item for every freezer. A cold pack can be useful for just about any little accident. Bumps, bruises, falls, scratches, grazes, sprains, strains, stings, post immunisation or even in the warmer weather, they can come in handy! The cold pack will help reduce swelling, inflammation and help soothe pain. 

With young children, especially babies, you must never apply ice directly to their skin, doing so can cause immediate damage.

Whilst frozen peas and corn are a quick solution, before you apply the ice pack to your child’s injury, make sure you have a suitable layer between the ice and their delicate skin. Grab a tea towel, make sure it’s damp and then wrap the packet of peas in the tea towel. This will ensure the ice pack does not cause any damage to your child’s skin. OR even better, make your own!  Something you and your child can make together.

 

Homemade Ice Packs

 

Step 1: Make a trip to the supermarket and buy a packet of colourful sponges.  

Step 2: Cut the sponges in a variety of shapes – halves, circles, quarters, hearts and diamonds. Not only will the variety of colourful shapes be fun, but will also allow you to have a range of sizes, perfect for little bodies!

Step 3: Wet the sponges; just enough water so they are not dripping. 

Step 4: Pop the wet sponges into a freezer bag (zip lock/glad lock bag).

Step 5: Pop them in your freezer! Fun, bright, cheap and reusable. 

sponge

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Behind the scenes of your stress.

Hi I’m Wayne, KidzAid Regional Manager and Intensive Care Helicopter Paramedic. I have been working in the prehospital side of emergency care for nearly 14 years. I have been fortunate to have worked in a variety of different countries around the world, including the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada. I’ve put together some points to try and alleviate your stress, when god forbid you ever need to make that dreaded call to 000. 

 

Have you ever needed to call 000 for an Ambulance?

Some common questions you may have

  • Who do you speak to?
  • What will they ask me?
  • Do they know where I am?
  • How long will an ambulance be?
  • Will they stay on the phone to help me while the ambulance arrives?

From the moment you realise there is an emergency, please DON’T panic.

Every emergency situation is different, and people react in so many different ways, but calling 000 in a state of panic will only make it harder to pass on all the relevant information that is required.

The 4 Vital messages

  1. Confirm who you are.
  2. Confirm your phone number.
  3. Your exact location.
  4. Nature of the emergency.

Keep it brief

“Unresponsive Child….” or “Child not Breathing….”

Keep it brief, but telling a factual story DOES NOT delay an ambulance response, the inability to pass on information does! Once the 000 call taker has calmed you down, further information can then be gathered. Please be reassured that the 000 operator will stay on the line with you at all times, until the ambulance arrives.

Once the 4 Vital messages have been passed, your 000 call taker will read back and confirm what has been said, ensuring the accuracy of your information.

He/she will then immediately dispatch the information into a GPS guided system to pick up your location and communicate with the ambulance dispatch team. (This whole process only takes about 30 seconds).

Once the confirmed location has been updated, the ambulance dispatch team will have full access to the local area and find the closest ambulance to activate a response. Once again, this will only take up to 60 seconds.

Key points to remember:

  • Stay calm.
  • Do not hang up the phone, place the phone on speaker and work your way through DRSABCD and follow instructions from the 000 call taker. 
  • If there is someone in the family that is not coping well with the situation, send them out and wait for the ambulance to arrive, this task will distract them and allow you to work through your DRSABCD action plan. 
  • Be rest assured from the moment you say ‘unresponsive child’ the call taker has already dispatched a crew to your emergency and help is on the way.

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