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CPS advises community to take preventive measures to prevent Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department within the Sint Maarten Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labor, is calling on the community and in particular parents and guardians, day care centers, play schools, and the primary school communities to take preventive measures to mitigate Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) by taking preventive measures by washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Parents/guardians who have a child exhibiting any symptoms of HFMD, 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.

HFMD 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 such as wearing gloves and washing your hands once done.

Persons with symptoms should consult their doctor and take necessary preventive measures to mitigate an increase in the 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.

HFMD 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.

For more information call CPS at 914 or email