It’s a contagious disease, which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) usually affects infants and children under 5 years old. Yet, recent outbreaks of hand, foot and mouth disease at Florida State University and at schools in Northern New Jersey have many schools and universities looking for ways to help reduce the risk of an outbreak at their campus.
Preventing the Spread of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease
The good news is there are preventive measures that you can take to help reduce the chances of hand, foot and mouth disease spreading across your campus.
Hygiene and Cleanliness
The CDC cites the practice of good hygiene, including handwashing, as one of the best measures all of us can take to reduce the risk of getting sick. It is important for everyone to wash his or her hands often and for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating. If soap and water are not available, the CDC recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
It is also important not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth, and if you do, to make sure your hands are clean prior to doing so. In addition, remember to practice cough and cold etiquette – cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze and try to avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Disinfect Dirty Surfaces and Soiled Items
It is important to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and soiled items. This includes tables in common areas, desks, doorknobs, restroom surfaces and tables in dining halls. Also, remind college students to thoroughly clean and disinfect their dorm rooms and apartments. Too, students, and faculty as well, need to remember not to share eating utensils or drink cups – this will help to reduce the risk of spreading germs.
The practice of overall good hygiene, which includes handwashing and hand sanitizing, is one of the most important steps we call all take to help reduce the spread of infection, including hand, foot and mouth disease.