As simple as ABC, to reduce HFMD

Antabax Introduces Always Be Clean (ABC) for Health Education and Awareness Campaign in Support of Ministry of Health Malaysia’s Efforts

Between January and August this year, there was a spike in number of Hand, Foot and Mouth disease (HFMD) cases, with 55,391[1] reported cases of HFMD nationwide, an increased of 127% or 30,993 cases as compared to 2017, with 24,398 reported cases.   

Team from Antabax, R.E.A.L Kids and Ministry of Health Malaysia 

Antabax ABC for Health

Antabax, Malaysia’s number 1 Halal antibacterial personal care range has introduced the Antabax Always be Clean (ABC) for Health campaign, partnering with R.E.A.L Kids, the country’s largest owner-operated kindergarten chain with 33 centres and 5,000 students nationwide.  This campaign is in support of the Ministry of Health Malaysia’s effort to reduce the spread of HFMD by educating the public while raising awareness among pre-schoolers and parents on this serious health situation. 

The brand is currently sharing educational tips on reducing the spread of HFMD on its social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram. Content includes the correct steps of handwashing and hand sanitizing so that parents, educators and caregiver can share the knowledge among their circle to help and reduce the risk of catching HFMD.

Antabax will be contributing its products including hand soap, bar soap, shower cream, antibacterial sanitizer spray, antibacterial sanitizer gel and antibacterial wipes to pre-schools in areas with high HFMD infection rates, while conducting education clinics for pre-schoolers. The products can kill 99.9% of germs.

According to Mr. Francis Ng, Senior General Manager, Household and Personal Care, Lam Soon Edible Oils Sdn Bhd, the brand is mobilizing its resources to assist the community as more children from pre-schools and primary schools are affected by the disease. 

“As a Malaysian brand, Antabax feels for the communities and especially families that are affected by this disease.  We have taken to our social media channels to share simple steps to reduce the spread of HFMD. Our ABC for Health campaign will be held in pre-schools soon to educate children on how to reduce their risk of contracting and spreading HFMD. We will be teaching the correct steps of handwashing and hand sanitizing, as clean hands make a lot of difference in stemming the spread of communicable diseases,” said Mr. Ng.

The Ministry of Health has taken steps to raise awareness on identifying signs and symptoms, and educating on steps to reduce the spread of the disease by working with industry players through collaborative initiatives. Public-private Partnership initiatives can reach more targeted audience in a shorter time as compared to Ministry of Health of working alone.

“HFMD is taking a toll on the socio-economics of the communities as parents having to take time off from work to care for their unwell children and, while schools that are badly affected has been closed temporarily for up to 10 days to stem the spread. A concerted effort among all parties can help to reduce the spread of HFMD while creating the habit of good hygiene, “ Mr. Ng added. 

Explaining on the partnership with Antabax, Mr. Kenny Sim, Chief Operating Officer, R.E.A.L Education Group Sdn Bhd said “Antabax ABC for Health makes personal hygiene as simple as ABC, so that even pre-schoolers can understand and practice.  We have noted from the centres where the program has been carried so far, have been quick to adopt these practices,”

What is HFMD?

HFMD is a moderately contagious illness caused by viruses that belongs to the Enterovirus genus. Among the most common strain of virus known to cause HFMD outbreaks are the Enterovirus 71 and Coxsackievirus A16. It is typically transmitted through direct contact with the mucus, saliva, blister fluid and feces of an infected person[2]

Who is most likely to be affected? 

This contagious illness commonly affects infants and children younger than 5 years old because their bodies have yet to develop immunity towards viruses that cause HFMD[3]. However, older children and adults can also be affected by the HFMD viruses.

Signs and Symptoms of HFMD

Early symptoms are fever which is often followed by a sore throat, loss of appetite and general malaise. Between one and two days after, painful sores may appear in the mouth and/or throat, red spots developing on their palm and/or soles which may turn into blisters. These symptoms however vary among children[4].

Treating HFMD?

There is no specific medicine or vaccine for HFMD. This viral disease has to run its course; many doctors do not prescribe medicine for this illness. Fever reducers and luke-warm baths can help bring temperature down. Cold foods like ice cream or smoothies can also help in easing the sore throats of sufferers who usually have trouble swallowing. It is recommended that those affected drink lots of water to stay hydrated[5].

What can you do to prevent the spread of HFMD? 

The risk of catching HFMD or any other communicable diseases can be lowered through good hygiene practice including frequent handwashing with soap and water especially after touching any blisters or sores, using the toilet, changing an infant’s diapers and before preparing food and eating, and feeding young infants.

It is important to always be aware of suspect surfaces. Infection by indirect contact can be reduced by avoid touching them or sanitizing the surface with an antibacterial spray. Other ways that can help reduce the risk of infection is by avoiding close contact with children infected with HFMD. Parents should keep infants and sick children away from the other kids at the kindergarten, nursery, school or gatherings until they have recovered.

[1] Kenyataan Akhbar KPK 28 Ogos 2018 -Situasi Semasa Kejadian Penyakit Tangan, Kaki dan Mulut (HFMD) di Malaysia

[2] https://www.cdc.gov/hand-foot-mouth/about/transmission.html

[3] https://www.cdc.gov/features/handfootmouthdisease/index.html

[4] http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/hand-foot-mouth-disease-hfmd/

[5] https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/hfm.html