Health officer to parents: Don’t send children to school if they show Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease symptoms

PARENTS must refrain from sending their children to school or going outside if they have symptoms of the infectious Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD), said a Cebu City Health Official.

If parents observe rashes and blisters on their children’s hands, feet and mouth, they should seek immediate medical attention, Cebu City Health Department (CCHD) Health Officer Dr. Daisy Villa said during the Openline forum on Tuesday, March 14, 2023.

Villa said HFMD has an incubation period of two weeks, and symptoms include low-grade fever, cough, runny nose, rashes and blisters.

The viral disease is contagious, and symptoms commonly peak within a week.

There were 77 cases of HFMD reported in Cebu City from January to March 2023, while another five suspected cases are under observation.

Villa said these figures can be considered alarming, as Cebu City recorded only two cases of HFMD in the same period last year.

Villa said the CCHD had observed that HFMD commonly affects children aged 1 to 5.

The health officer said she has also coordinated with the school administrations in the city to intensify disinfection on their premises.

She also urged the schools to intensify their awareness campaign for proper sanitation, such as washing of hands, to prevent the spread of the disease.

Despite HFMD not being life-threatening, Villa said dehydration in infected individuals could lead to fatalities.

HFMD is different from the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) that affects animals.