Malaysia is seeing a sharp rise in the number of Hand Foot Mouth Disease (HFMD) cases.
Here are things you need to know about HFMD.
What Is HFMD?
HFMD is caused by the Coxsackie virus A16 (CA16) and Enterovirus 71 (EV71). 
It is highly contagious and is spread through direct contact with nasal fluid, saliva, blisters and the faeces of those infected. For example:
- Touching an infected person or making other close contact, like kissing, hugging, or sharing cups or eating utensils.
- Contact with respiratory droplets containing virus particles after a sick person coughs or sneezes.
- Touching an infected person’s faeces, such as changing diapers, then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Touching objects and surfaces that have the virus on them, like doorknobs or toys, then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
On May 17, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah was reported to have said that the number of HFMD cases in the country had increased at an alarming rate of 15 times, to 31,661 as of May 14, compared with only 2,121 cases reported in the same period last year. 
The majority of cases reported have been in Selangor at 28% of the total, followed by Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur at 14%, Sabah (8%), Perak (8%) and Kelantan (7.9%).
Who Is At Risk?
The Malaysian Ministry of Health said that of all cases reported, most – 94% – were children aged six and below, while 5% were those aged 7-12. 
Why Is It Happening?
According to Terengganu health department director, Dr. Kasemani Embong, failure to take preventive measures and ensure hygiene in nurseries had been the reasons for the spread of HFMD. 
What Are The Symptoms?
- Sore throat
- Loss of appetite
- Ulcers in the mouth
- Red rash without itching with blister on palms, soles or buttocks
How To Prevent?
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
- Use hand sanitizer if soap is not available.
- Teach your kids how to wash and sanitize hands properly.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and shared items, especially toys and doorknob.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- Avoid touching someone who has HFMD.
- Stay home if you are infected with HFMD.
- Reduces inflammation of skin
- Reduces itch
- Dermatologically tested
- No animal testing
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