CPS: Take measures to prevent Hand Foot and Mouth Disease & Chicken Pox
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CPS: Take measures to prevent Hand Foot and Mouth Disease & Chicken Pox

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department within the Sint Maarten Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labour, is calling on the community and in particular parents and guardians, day care centers and play schools, to take preventive measures to mitigate Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) as well as Chicken Pox, by taking extra measures to prevent the aforementioned by washing hands often with soap and water.

CPSs communicable diseases surveillance system has picked up a number of cases within the community of the aforementioned.

Parents/guardians who have a child exhibiting any symptoms of HFMD or Chicken Pox, and has an appointment with the Baby Wellness Clinic, are hereby requested to call to reschedule the child’s appointment.

HFMD is a common viral illness that usually affects infants and children who are 10-years of age or younger. It can sometimes occur in adults. There is no vaccine to protect against the viruses that cause hand, foot, and mouth disease.

Symptoms of HFMD include cold-like conditions, fever, mouth sores, loss of appetite, cough, and a skin rash; a non-itchy red rash that develops on the hand and the feet, and sometimes the rash can develop into painful blisters; painful mouth ulcers.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is spread from person to person through nose and throat secretions (such as saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus), blister fluid, or stool of infected persons. When handling secretions, it is advisable to apply the necessary preventive measures.

Persons with symptoms should consult their family physician and take necessary preventive measures in order to mitigate an increase number of cases.

To lower your risk of being infected with hand, foot and mouth disease, wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after changing diapers and using the toilet; disinfecting dirty surfaces and soiled items, including toys.

First wash the items with soap and water, and then disinfect them with a solution of chlorine bleach; and avoiding close contact such as kissing, hugging, thumb-sucking, nail-chewing or sharing eating utensils or cups with infected persons.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is not the same as foot and mouth disease, which affects cattle, sheep and pigs. The two infections are unrelated, and you cannot catch hand, foot and mouth disease from animals.

Chicken Pox is usually a mild disease in children. But the itching can be very uncomfortable. Chicken Pox spreads easily through airborne droplets, when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also spread by touching/making contact with the fluid from blisters.

Susceptible persons are 80 to 90 per cent at risk of getting the disease once exposed to it. Chicken Pox is a disease caused by infection with the varicella zoster virus, which causes fever and an itchy rash.

Not all infected individuals have fever, which develops just before or when the rash appears.

Symptoms can include a skin rash of blister-like lesions, covering the body but usually more concentrated on the face, scalp, and trunk.

The patient is infectious from the onset of symptoms until all spots have gone. One attack usually confers life-long immunity, although the virus may reactivate at a later date and cause shingles.

Children with Chicken Pox usually must miss school or childcare for at least a week to avoid spreading the virus to others.

Considering it is airborne, use take hand cough preventive measures and disinfect/sanitize surroundings.

In most cases Chicken Pox is not a serious health threat but life-threatening complications can occur and include the following:

  • Bacterial infection of the skin and tissues under the skin (including group A streptococcal infections)
  • Dehydration (loss of body fluids) from vomiting or diarrhea
  • Pneumonia (lung infection)
  • Encephalitis (brain swelling). Most cases are mild, but some can be deadly.

No one can predict who will get serious complications from the disease.

If your child or you have any of these symptoms, consult your family physician; agencies and/or institutions taking care of babies, toddlers etc. The aforementioned are requested to be on the alert and to take preventive measures by taking proper cleaning and hygienic measures.

For more information call CPS at 542-1122, 542-1222, 542-1322 and 542-1570; or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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