News

THE COST OF HFMD

A local study has found the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) to be the costliest among other common childhood infections such as diarrhoea, respiratory infections like the flu and skin infections like rashes.

The study, which surveyed 301 mothers in March, was initiated by Unilever and sponsored by health soap brand Lifebuoy to assess the cost of common childhood infections.

It was conducted in consultation with the Society of Infectious Diseases (Singapore).

The respondents have children who are aged 12 and below, and have had at least an episode of any of the above infections in the last six months.

Professor Paul Anantharajah Tambyah, the president of the Society of Infectious Diseases (Singapore), explained that HFMD costs more to treat compared to other infections because it usually involves two to three trips to the doctor - once before the rashes, once when it's full-blown, and once if childcare centres require clearance from doctors before they return.

TOTAL MEDICAL BILL

Respiratory infection: $121

Diarrhoea: $151

Skin infection: $163

HFMD: $207

OPPORTUNITY COST 
(due to work days lost)

Respiratory infection: $760

Diarrhoea: $749

Skin infection: $749

HFMD: $1,005

HOW TO PROTECT CHILDREN

Wash hands with soap before eating and after going to the toilet.

Cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

Do not share eating utensils.

Ensure that toys or appliances that are contaminated by nasal or oral secretions are cleaned thoroughly before they are used again.

Put on a face mask when feeling unwell.

Source: Health Promotion Board