A Note from the Nurse 9/25

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Northbridge Public Schools is aware that we have many cases of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD). We want to make you aware of what we are doing to prevent the spread of this illness, and to give you information from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on the illness itself.

Our nursing staff is monitoring existing cases and is watching for new cases. It is very helpful when you make the nurses aware of your child’s diagnosis of HFMD and we appreciate your efforts to update us on your student’s health.

Our custodial staff has increased their cleaning efforts in response to the cases of HFMD. These efforts include:

1. Thoroughly detail and disinfect all staff and student restrooms with our germicidal disinfectant and microfiber cloth, including all touch surfaces, handles, door knobs, stall walls, etc.

2. When requested, classroom desks and chairs are to be disinfected and sanitized on a rotating basis each night using the germicidal disinfectant and microfiber cloths.

3. When we are notified of a specific isolated and affected area in a school, we're handling the cleaning, disinfecting and sanitation of that area in the same manner.

4. All cafeteria tables and chairs are being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected prior to lunch each day and in between each lunch, as well as being cleaned, sanitized and disinfected each evening after any activities in those areas have been completed.

5. Each school is being properly cleaned as usual on a daily and/or nightly basis including, floors, carpets, stairs, hand railings, windows etc.

Some important things to remember:

GOOD HANDWASHING IS THE KEY TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF HFMD. Please stress this with your student.

Your student may return to school when she feels well enough, and when she is able to handle her nasal and salivary secretions, as well as when any draining blisters are able to be covered.

Massachusetts Department of Public Health

A child/ children in our school system have Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

Please take these precautions:
1. Watch your child and family members for signs of hand, foot, and mouth disease.
2. If you think your child may have hand, foot, and mouth disease, call your health care provider for
3. Tell us if your child has hand, foot, and mouth disease.

Information about hand, foot, and mouth disease:
What is it? Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common illness of infants and young children, most commonly caused by a virus called coxsackievirus. Symptoms include mild fever, poor appetite, and a sore throat. One or 2 days after the fever begins, tiny blisters develop in the mouth. A skin rash also develops over 1–2 days with flat or raised red spots, some with blisters. The rash is not itchy and is usually found on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Illness is usually mild and most people get better in 7–10 days.

How do you catch hand, foot, and mouth disease? It is spread when the virus from stool or saliva gets on hands or objects and then onto other people’s hands and into mouths. A person is most contagious during the first week of the illness but they still can have the virus for many weeks, especially in their stool. People usually get sick 3 to 7 days after being exposed to the virus.

How is hand, foot, and mouth disease diagnosed? Health care providers can tell if people have hand, foot, and mouth disease by their symptoms. A laboratory test can be done on the throat or stool to know for sure but since the testing often takes 2–4 weeks to obtain a final answer, these tests are usually not ordered.

How is hand, foot, and mouth disease treated? There is no specific treatment for hand, foot, and mouth disease but your health care provider may suggest treatment to relieve some symptoms.

How do you stop the spread of hand, foot, and mouth disease?
1. Always wash your hands with soap and running water after using the toilet, changing a diaper, helping a child use the toilet, and before touching food or eating. Also wash your hands after wiping or blowing noses or after touching nose, throat, or eye secretions. Babies and children need their hands washed at these times, too.
2. Encourage your child not to share food, drinks, or utensils at school.

When can your child return? A child with hand, foot, and mouth disease can return to school as soon as he/she feels well enough to attend

As always, please feel free to contact your school nurse or Lori Johnson at 508-234-6221, ext. 5110 with any concerns or questions.