Hand, foot and mouth in Blackpool: Symptoms to watch out for as outbreak is reported by nursery worker and GP

An outbreak of hand, foot, and mouth disease has been reported in Blackpool.

Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 5:15 pm

A Bispham GP said his practice had been “smashed” by cases of the common childhood illness, while a North Shore nursery worker said scores of youngsters have caught it in recent weeks.

She said: “Lots of kids are getting it and it’s been spreading in other nurseries as well. They have to stay off.

“Some children get really ill with it but others just have the rash.”

Mouth ulcers are a telltale sign of hand, foot, and mouth disease

The condition, which can affect adults as well, usually gets better on its own after seven to 10 days, the NHS said, but is highly contagious.

The first signs can be a sore throat, fever, and loss of appetite. After a few days, mouth ulcers and a rash will appear.

The illness is nothing to do with foot and mouth disease, which affects farm animals.

Dr Arif Rajpura, Blackpool's director of public health, said: "We are aware that one school in Blackpool reported a small number of symptomatic children with hand, foot and mouth around three weeks ago.

“However, it is important to stress that hand, foot and mouth is a common childhood illness that is normally a minor infection and usually gets better in around 7 to ten days. It has nothing to do with foot and mouth disease that affects farm animals.

“We would advise anyone who has any concerns to refer to NHS guidance on dealing with any symptoms and advice on keeping a child off school or nursery to help reduce the risk of spreading this common illness.”

Last month, a GP in London said the disease was starting to sweep the country.

Dr Stephanie Ooi said hand, foot and mouth spreads more in the autumn – and said parents should make sure their children are well hydrated.

“Mouth ulcers will be sore so expect your child to be off their food,” she said.

“It’s important to ensure they are drinking enough.

“Signs of dehydration can include an altered level of consciousness, decreased urine output, sunken eyes, dry lips and mouth, and pale or mottled skin.

"If you notice any of these symptoms, then please see your GP for an assessment.”

Parents should speak to a pharmacist for advice about treatments, including mouth ulcer gels, sprays, and mouthwashes, to relieve pain, the NHS said.

They should contact a GP if symptoms persist for more than 10 days, their child has a very high temperature or feels shivery, they’re worried about their child’s symptoms, their child is dehydrated and not peeing as often as usual, or if they are pregnant and get the disease themselves.

“To reduce the risk of spreading hand, foot, and mouth disease, wash your hands often with soap and water – and children’s hands too – use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze, bin used tissues as quickly as possible, do not share towers or household items like cups or cutler, [and] was soiled bedding and clothing on a hot wash.”

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