Common childhood illnesses
Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD)
The symptoms include fever, painful mouth ulcers and rash on the hands, feet, buttocks and groin. Patients are most contagious in the first week of the illness. HFMD is transmitted through contact with an infected person's nose and throat secretions (such as phlegm and mucus), blister fluid or faeces.
The patient is considered well when there is no more fever, the blisters are no longer wet or contain fluid within them and when all mouth ulcers have subsided.
The symptoms include fever, lethargy, a runny nose, cough, watery eyes and rashes. A patient can be infectious even before the onset of symptoms. Patients must stay at home until the rashes and fever have subsided.
The symptoms include fever, body ache and red spots on the face and body, which later become blisters. The blisters take about a week to dry up and most patients recover after two weeks.
Chickenpox spreads by air or direct contact. An infected person is contagious one to two days before the rashes appear. The patient should stay at home until all the scabs dry up and there is no more fever.
The symptoms include fever, cough and breathlessness. Patients should stay at home until they do not have fever and other symptoms of the illness.
•Information provided by Dr Low Kah Tzay, paediatrician, Mount Elizabeth Hospital; Dr Karen Ng, regional director (Central), Primary Care Transformation Office, family physician, consultant, National Healthcare Group Polyclinics; and Dr Ng Chung Wai, senior consultant family physician, SingHealth Polyclinics - Outram, chairperson of Infection Control and Infectious Diseases Workgroup, SingHealth Polyclinics