Rising HFMD cases not a cause for alarm

What do schools, parents and doctors have to say about the increase in HFMD cases in Singapore over the past few months? Read on to find out!e

Weekly figures by the Ministry of Health shows that in comparison to similar periods last year, 2015 has seen an increase in Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease (HFMD) cases in Singapore.

The spike started in mid-October, with 585 cases compared to 381 cases in the same period last year. In November, there were 502 cases (377 cases within the same period last year) and from 6 to 12 December, there were 568 cases (302 cases last year).

But the doctors that TODAY spoke to said that this is not an alarming situation. Dr Tze Lee Tan, a general practitioner at The Edinburgh Clinic, said that it is not unusual as “it comes in waves”.

Preschools have been taking various measures in dealing with the problem. EtonHouse, for example, has policies aimed at minimising "cross-infection in early childhood settings". This includes a specific hand-washing schedule and techniques.

As for School House by the Garden (Hougang), where there has been a total of seven cases in the past two weeks, it keeps parents updated regularly via text message to inform them whenever there is a new case. Vice principal Ms Jessie Soh said, "We need parents to cooperate with us also. If (their children) have HFMD, try not to bring them to public places."

Cambridge Pre-School at Hougang too has seen about seven cases since the last week of November, but they have been cleared by the first week of December.

Mr Gavin Chow, a 36-year-old single dad whose son, 6, and daughter 3, both contracted HFMD at about the same time, said that he is not too worried about what is going on. He even added, "I feel we have a bit more of such (HFMD) cases because we are too hygienic, our bodies have very low resistance to bacteria."

Even though doctors have assured us that the current state is nothing too worrying, there are still preventive measures that can be taken to protect children from catching HFMD. Both parents and schools play an important part in keeping the children healthy and away from the disease.

Had an experience dealing with HFMD? Share with us in the comments below so we can all learn from it together.