Calling all parents and supervising adults, the Ministry of Health has shared an important health reminder this summer season. With the increase in the rates of hand, food, and mouth disease (HMFD) in Singapore, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has issued a circular listing day care centres and kindergartens in the city-state which have been affected by the viral outbreak during this summer.
In a report shared by Channel News Asia, there have already been over 25,000 new cases of HFMD infections reported during the first half of the year, which is 28 per cent higher than last year’s count for the same period.
MoH Identifies Childcare Institutions Affected by HFMD in the Country
In line with this, the MOH is monitoring the rise in the cases of HFMD especially among vulnerable populations particularly schoolchildren and those attending day-care centres in Singapore as the virus can easily spread in this population as children, especially toddlers pay little to no special attention to their personal hygiene and are constantly interacting with their environment.
While there are no reports of closure as of the moment, there are 6 childcare centres and 1 kindergarten included in the MOH’s list with over 10 reported cases of HFMD or an infection rate above 13 per cent, as well as a (prolonged) transmission period which is beyond 16 days as shown below:
- Agape Little Uni @ Compassvale
- KINDERLAND @ Revenue House
- My First Skool at 2 Punggol Drive
- New Life Community Services Childcare @J10
- My First Skool @ Blk 55 Toa Payoh Lorong 5
- My First Skool @ Blk 153 Rivervale Crescent
- St James Church Kindergarten (Harding)
Reference: Updates on the HFMD situation in Singapore as of Aug. 8, (MOH.gov.sg)
Guidelines for parents and caretakers released by the MOH
In line with this situation, the MOH has released some guidelines on what parents as well as supervising adults can do to keep their child and others safe from the virus. It all boils down to maintaining high standards of personal and environmental hygiene practices which include:
- Frequent hand washing with soap (e.g. before meals and after using the toilet)
- Covering one’s mouth and nose with a clean tissue when sneezing or coughing, and properly disposing these items in a trash bin right after use.
- Avoiding sharing of food, eating utensils, and other personal items (i.e. toothbrush, towels, etc) with others.
Other Important Guidelines for Parents:
- Parents should see to it that household and personal articles such as toys or appliances that have been contaminated with nasal or oral secretions are properly cleaned and disinfected before they are used once again.
- Parents should seek a doctor’s advice as soon as their child develops symptoms of infection such as fever, mouth ulcers, as well as rashes on their palms, soles of the feet or in the buttocks area.
- Avoid bringing the child in public or crowded places as much as possible. At home, make sure that proper hygiene is observed by all family members, paying special attention to the little ones.
- If the child is showing signs of infection, he/she must be isolated or kept at home until all blisters have crusted and dried up. Contact with other children during this period should be avoided until the child has fully recovered.
Taking into consideration all these helpful guidelines from the MOH, parents and all childcare personnel can proactively contribute in the prevention of HFMD in Singapore and to stop it from becoming a nationwide epidemic.