Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) is spreading rapidly in Singapore — and you'll know this especially if you happen to be a parent of young children, or know some.
According to the Weekly Infectious Disease Bulletin by the Ministry of Health (MOH) for the week of Jul. 29 to Aug. 4, the number of HFMD cases diagnosed in Singapore increased to 1,249, the highest number for the year so far.
In total this year, so far, there have been 27,449 diagnosed cases of HFMD — more than 6,000 more than the number recorded over the same period last year — 21,249.
Disinfectant spray with extreme claims
Some parents might be looking for any possible extra steps they can take to protect their children, such as purchasing sanitisers, disinfectants and the like.
In Malaysia, for instance, there is a disinfectant spray called Thymos that claims it can eliminate 99.9 per cent of HFMD and H1N1 viruses.
Here's a video from them with more about it:The spray is apparently "clinically proven to kill viruses completely", and is claimed to have "no toxic chemicles(sic)", even allegedly being able to "effectively prevent flu and boost antibodies".
MOH-HSA: Spray is not regulated
Really now? We decided to check with the authorities.
Spokespersons for both MOH and the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said in a joint response to Mothership that Thymos is not regulated by the HSA, and the public should exercise discretion when buying products that are marketed with "exaggerated and extreme" claims.
Here's their full statement:
"The product Thymos Anti Hand Food Mouth Disease (HFMD) Spray is not a health product regulated by the Health Sciences Authority. We advise members of the public to exercise discretion when purchasing unregulated products online that may carry exaggerated and extreme health claims.
Parents should consult a doctor early if their child has symptoms of HFMD such as fever, mouth ulcers and rashes on the palms, soles or buttocks, and exercise social responsibility by not bringing their child to school or any other crowded public places if their child is exhibiting HFMD symptoms to minimise the risk of infecting others. Articles contaminated by oral or nasal secretions from infected children with HFMD should be disinfected.
To minimise the risk of HFMD spread, parents and adults looking after children should ensure that the following good personal hygiene practices are maintained:
· Wash hands with soap before eating and after going to the toilet;
· Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away into a bin immediately;
· Do not share food/drinks, eating utensils, toothbrushes or towels with others; and
· Disinfect articles such as toys or appliances contaminated by oral or nasal secretions."
Thymos, however, continues to claim that the efficacy of their spray is clinically proven by "various international accredited bodies", adding in a statement made last Thursday that a representative for the company will be meeting with Malaysia's Ministry of Health to substantiate the claims they've made:Right now, the best way to defend your family and yourself against HFMD is good hygiene practices such as washing your hands, covering your mouth and nose with tissue when coughing or sneezing, not sharing personal articles or food and drink, and disinfecting toys or items that may have gotten nasal or oral secretions on it.
Not as exciting as easily getting rid of viruses with a simple spray, but at least we know it works.
Top image via Thymos Global's website