Global Health Asia-Pacific July 2022 - Page 17

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Hand , foot and mouth disease , influenza and chicken pox

THE RETURN OF THE CHILDHOOD VIRUSES AND HOW TO PREVENT THEM

Dr Salehuddin Samsudin , Consultant Paediatrician and Neonatologist , ParkCity Medical Center .

For over two and a half year the eyes of the world have been fi�ated on the C������ pandemic and how to overcome this global health threat . �ot since the spanish influen�a pandemic in ���� , has there been such a massive global health crisis .

�y introducing health prevention strategies such as wearing face masks , social distancing , strict movement restrictions and quarantine , we reduced the spread of many other infections common childhood infections like influen�a , hand foot and mouth disease and chicken po� . However , as schools reopen and health prevention strategies are rela�ed , �alaysia is now in the middle of a massive outbreak of hand foot and mouth disease .
�nfluen�a cases are currently on the rise and could potentially be as bad as it was in ���� , before the C������ era .
Chicken po� is also on the rise especially amongst young children . Although most recover fully from it deaths from complications of chicken po� including secondary pneumonia and sepsis have been well documented especially in young children . As parents how can we protect our children from the return of these forgotten viral threats�
The answer lies in public education and widespread vaccination efforts .
Hand Foot and Mouth Disease : Hand foot and mouth disease ( H���� is caused by �nteroviruses such as Co�sackie A�� and �nterovirus �� ( ����� . �� per cent of cases involve children under � years old but occasionally some cases can also be seen in adults .
�t spreads through secretions such as saliva , faeces and nasal secretions that can be easily passed during play and social interaction especially at nursery and schools or at home .
�t causes rashes on hands and feet as well as multiple painful oral ulcers . They may cause high fever ,
dehydration , diarrhoea and vomiting which may need hospitali�ation for intravenous fluids .
�nfortunately , sometimes it can lead to brain swelling ( meningoencephalitis� or death . There is no vaccine available yet for H��� . The only way to prevent it is through personal hygiene such as regular hand washing and isolation of infected individuals .
Influenza virus : �nfluen�a is a very common but potentially severe and dangerous virus infection . �t usually causes high fever ( ����� celsius� and may lead to pneumonia , sepsis and sometimes death .
�nfluen�a spreads through the close contacts through coughing , snee�ing and direct contact . The risk of severe complications can be reduced by taking the annual influen�a vaccine which is updated every season .
Chicken pox or Varicella : Chicken po� or �aricella can cause high fever , skin infections , scarring , and occasionally lead to death especially in young children and those who are immunocompromised . �t spreads through droplets and direct contact .
�accination for the Chicken �o� virus is available for children from �� months old . �t is highly effective and a booster dose is recommended to increase the long term protection .
Please make an appointment to see your Paediatrician soon to give your loved ones the best protection possible .
Dr Salehuddin Samsudin
The risk of severe complications can be reduced by taking the annual influenza vaccine which is updated every season .
GlobalHealthAsiaPacific . com JULY 2022
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