Singapore (PRWEB) July 27, 2012
Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD), which is contracted through contact with secretions from an infected person, has reached epidemic levels 19 of the 26 weeks this year, as of June 30. The weekly tally of reported cases, compiled by the Ministry of Health’s communicable diseases division, never reached epidemic levels in 2011.
While the viral infection is “generally mild and self-limiting,” one particular strain, enterovirus 71, can cause serious problems including paralysis and is believed to have caused the deaths of 52 children in Cambodia over the last four months, according to the World Health Organization.
Good hygiene habits are crucial for reducing a child’s risk of contracting these illnesses, as well as their exposure to bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella, which can also cause life-threatening problems. Parents are advised to encourage children to frequently wash their hands with soap for at least 20 seconds - especially before eating and after going to the toilet. Any toys or objects, such as door knobs, that are potentially contaminated should also be cleaned with soap.
Pacifiers and bottles are particularly prone to contamination, as the dampness provides an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. When a pacifier falls on the ground or when a child pauses during a feeding, the surfaces pick up microorganisms, which are not completely killed through washing or even boiling.
Devices that use the germicidal properties of ultraviolet (UV) light, such as My Tu-Tu, can be an effective sterilization method. The battery-powered device, which works by disrupting the cellular DNA of microorganisms, was found to eliminate 99.9 percent of harmful germs in testing by independent certification company SGS, and can be used to sterilize pacifiers, feeding bottle nipples or other items like spoons.
Because it tucks into a diaper bag and automatically turns off when sterilization is complete – after six to eight minutes – My Tu-Tu makes it convenient for parents to protect their children at home or away.
“I’m happy that I don’t have to worry about her dropping her pacifier on the floor and wondering how I’m going to clean it. Now all I have to do is pop it into My Tu-Tu and it’s done,” says mother Madeline Heng.
UV light has been employed to kill microorganisms in hospitals and other healthcare facilities for many years – at least dating back to 1903, when Niels Finsen was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his use of UV to heal tuberculosis lesions. More recently, the technology has been approved for killing microorganisms via consumer products, such as air purifiers, water purifiers and even vacuum cleaners.
Other tips for reducing the spread of harmful bacteria include:
- Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue into a bin immediately.
- Wash raw produce thoroughly to remove dirt and bacteria.
- Avoid-cross contamination: Do not share eating utensils; keep raw fruits, vegetables and meat separate from other foods; and use hot soapy water to wash knives and other surfaces that come into contact with raw food.
- Consult a doctor if your child has fever, mouth ulcers and rashes on the palms, soles or buttocks. Children with HFMD should remain at home until all the blisters have dried up – usually at least seven days, according to the MOH. During this period, contact with other children and public spaces should be avoided.
- Because yearly seasonal outbreaks of HFMD often occur in childcare centers and kindergartens, check the Ministry of Health’s “Hand, Foot and Mouth Updates,” at http://www.moh.gov.sg/content/moh_web/home/diseases_and_conditions/h/hand_foot_mouth_disease.html. The site lists schools that have been closed for 10 days due to severe outbreaks, as well as childcare centers and kindergartens that have “active clusters” of HFMD activity – reporting more than 10 children (or more than 13 percent of the school’s total enrollment) with HFMD and a “prolonged transmission” period of more than 16 days.
About My Tu-Tu
My Tu-Tu is an innovative UV sterilizer for pacifiers or feeding bottle nipples that eliminates up to 99.9 percent of harmful germs. It has been verified by worldwide inspection and certification company SGS and passed testing by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. The lead- and PBB-free device is CE-certified and RoHS (Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances)-compliant. More information can be found at http://www.mytu-tu.com or http://www.facebook.com/MyTuTuAsia.