Although contemporary medicine has enough resources to deal with many viruses that pose a threat to human health, some diseases still cause significant complications and discomfort. Some of the ailments are triggered by enteroviruses causing acute intestinal infection with diarrhea and, as well as the inflammation of the upper respiratory tract with fever. As a syndrome that is persistent and unpleasant in treatment, hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD) will be reviewed.
In order to assess the manifestations and fusions of this ailment, its epidemiology should be considered, the overall clinical picture, as well as possible manifestations. In relation to nursing practice, this disease is an important ailment to address because junior medical employees are often involved in interacting with patients infected with this virus. The basic principles of hygiene and sanitary prevention may help avoid the infection and stop the spread of the epidemic.
HFMD is a viral disease that manifests itself in childhood most often since the ailment is transmitted in a variety of ways, including both traditional airborne contact and tactile interaction. For children, studying the world through touch and taste buds is the key factor explaining the frequent cases of this illness. Despite the typical symptoms of the viral infection, in particular, fever, malaise, and weakness, some unique manifestations of the disease distinguish it from others.
Koh et al. (2016) consider this ailment and note that the mucous membranes of the oral cavity and upper respiratory tract become inflamed, and vesiculate formations occur on the surface, creating discomfort when eating, drinking, and breathing. Regarding the threat of the spread of the virus, in some world regions, HFMD appears more often than in others. According to Ventarola, Bordone, and Silverberg (2015), in Asian countries (Vietnam, Malaysia, China, South Korea, and some others), the epidemics of this enterovirus pose a significant problem for medical providers. Despite the temporary nature of the disease, the illness can cause death, and the timely addressing of its symptoms is an important and responsible task.
The manifestations of HFMD in childhood are a typical clinical picture; however, sometimes, this virus infects adults. Omaña-Cepeda et al. (2016) note that most often, the infection occurs when visiting another region or interacting with a sick child who has come from afar. Infected food, water, and household items may cause the symptoms of the disease and an epidemic. Accordingly, it is essential to consider this ailment not only in the context of pediatric interventions but also from the perspective of general preventive practice.
Symptoms of the Disease
Whether a person is infected or not after contact with the carrier of the disease, it will not be immediately visible but in 3-10 days of the incubation period. Further, there are general signs indicating the illness – weakness, fatigue, drowsiness, loss of appetite, sometimes – loosening of the stool. The temperature rises, and further, in 12-36 hours, blistering formations appear on the gums, palate, mucous membrane of the lips, or tonsils. A similar rash also occurs on the limbs and body. There is a direct correlation between the number of rash elements and the severity of the disease: the more blisters, the closer to the center of the body they are located, the harder the treatment is (Omaña-Cepeda et al., 2016). High temperature, which is poorly reduced with the help of antipyretic drugs, lasts about five days, and after it decreases, a person feels better.
Treatment and Prevention
HFMD treatment begins after diagnosing the disease, and since all the interventions are based on symptom reduction, addressing the main manifestations of the illness is crucial. This is done on the basis of examination and conversation with the children’s parents or a patient directly if he or she is an adult. An infectious disease specialist or a dermatologist performs diagnostics, and as Omaña-Cepeda et al. (2016) remark, a joint examination of these two specialists is more often utilized. After this examination, blood donation from a vein is required for antibodies to the enterovirus, but treatment is prescribed immediately.
There are no vaccines or serums because the strains of HFMD are numerous, and it is impossible to define an exact variant. Drago, Ciccarese, Broccolo, Rebora, and Parodi (2017) compare this disease with chickenpox and note that despite the similarity of symptoms, smallpox is more acute and poses a more significant threat to the body’s immune system. However, HFMD prevention should be mandatory to avoid an epidemic.
In case a person has contacted a patient with the enterovirus considered, in order to reduce the risk of infection, one needs to eat enough vitamin products. Also, the disease may be prevented by complying with basic hygiene measures. It is essential to teach children not to communicate and not to come close to a coughing or sneezing person. The treatment of the elements of the rash in the oral cavity and on the skin also needs to be conducted with gloves. A patient should be isolated to avoid the spread of the disease. As Drago et al. (2017) state, atypical and dangerous manifestations of HFMD are often found when the disease is addressed untimely or erroneously. Therefore, it is important to observe safety measures and adhere to sanitary and hygienic standards.
Significance to Nursing
Since HFMD is not critically dangerous, except in rare cases, patient care is provided at home. However, in case of acute complications, clinical supervision and care are carried out, and, like Mei, Song, Kong, and Yu (2018) note, nursing personnel of various profiles are involved in monitoring and observation. Accordingly, professional skills for interacting with patients of this profile are an important aspect of the training of junior medical staff. Employees are to have a good knowledge of hygiene standards and follow preventive measures in contact with the population.
In addition to preventative work, nurses should promote community-based education. Shope (2014) argues that parents often do not have enough time to engage with children and discuss current health problems, including infectious illnesses. Accordingly, in the pediatric field, the participation of junior medical staff is relevant in view of an opportunity to help the population and minimize the likelihood of epidemics caused by HFMD. Therefore, the professional training of specialists requires comprehensive knowledge about the principles of prevention and treatment of the disease in question.
HFMD is an infectious disease that is more common in childhood, and following basic hygiene norms is an important aspect of prevention. The symptoms of the illness are standard, with the exception of blisters on the mucous membrane, limbs, and body. Patient isolation in case of infection is necessary, and the treatment of symptoms is a basic intervention. In relation to nursing, preparation for addressing this disease is an important aspect of preventive measures promoted in the field of healthcare and ensuring the protection of the population.