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Diseases of hand, foot & mouth need protection for children

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Rifat Zafreen :
 “Why don’t you wear mask Aafnu on the way to your school?”--- mother asks. Dust, heat and rough weather can cause virus infected disease 'hand, foot and mouth' disease, of which even the adults are not safe let alone the children. This disease may harm our children if necessary protection is not taken for them.
Like Afnu’s mother, many of the guardians feel insecure of their children due to this. Under the hot sun and dusty air along with our dirty habits and unclean surroundings, most of the children and also adults suffer from hand, foot and mouth disease.
Hand, foot and mouth disease can occur at any time of the year but it is most common during summer time. This disease is caused by a virus called 'coxsackie'. Due to this disease relatively mild illness may subside within few days. This virus may spread easily through coughing and sneezing. It also can spread through infected stool when a diaper is changed and when a young child gets stool on his/her hands and then touches objects that other children put in to their mouths. After being exposed to the virus it takes 3 to 5 days for a person to get the symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease.
Generally hand, foot and mouth disease is common in children but can also occur among the adults. These days school going children, especially in the cities are suffering from this disease. Parents remain very anxious and do not know what to do and how to handle this situation. Due to dirty air children and even adults are suffering from asthma and other respiratory diseases which turn from hand, foot and mouth disease at its worst level.
While affected children show lack of interest in playing, may easily get tired, get sore throat. There may be fever and sores or blisters in mouth and on hands, feet. Sometimes, it may appear in the buttock. There may also have skin rash before the blister. Though these sores and blisters go away in a week, these matters for the children. There may be also mild sore throat or without any symptoms, especially among adults who might get in to the contact of the disease from their infected child.
Hand, foot and mouth disease does not need treatment. It is self limiting. Children just need to be taken care of. They need to be provided nutritious food and drinks and to be maintained good hygiene. For skin rashes lotion or oil can be used to have smoothing effect. In case of pain and fever children need to be given proper medication under doctor's advice. Children are most likely to spread the disease during the first week of their illness but the virus can stay in their stool for several months and may spread to others later.
To protect our children as well as others while our children have sore throat, fever and rash, they should not be sent to school. We should wash our hands frequently as it is important to wash our hands after we touch a blister or change diaper of the infected children. It is also important to teach our children and family members to wash their hands often with soap or use sanitizer. Infected children should not be kissed frequently or even their toys should not be shared with others while they are sick and infected. But there is nothing to get panicked about it. What in needed is to take proper care and maintain hygiene in our everyday life.
A little care and awareness so can keep our children safe and healthy. To create awareness our print and electronic media can play a vital role. These can publish special write ups and can telecast special programs or clips on the disease especially during the very season when our children remain prone to get affected. It is our duty to stay in hygiene and keep our children in hygiene.
And it is our responsibility to stay clean and safe and thus keep clean our surroundings and environment. We all want all our children will live, laugh and breathe a healthy life and bloom like flowers --- fresh and fragrant. n

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