School warning of contagious illness

Parents at Chemainus Elementary Community School are being urged to watch out for hand, foot and mouth disease.

Principal Brenda Stevenson reported to them in a letter Dec. 9 that "several cases" have been reported at the school.

She told them that symptoms include fever, runny nose, sore throat, sores in the mouth, loss of appetite and painless rash or blisters on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet or, occasionally, the buttocks.

"Hand, foot and mouth disease is contagious. It can be passed to others through contact with the infected person’s saliva, mucus, or feces. Children are most contagious during the first week of the illness," she said in the announcement.

However, the virus remains in the feces and "can sometimes spread for several weeks after the blisters and sores have healed. There is no blood test or medicine for hand, foot and mouth disease."

Good hygiene works to help keep the illness from spreading, including washing hands well with running water and soap after nose blowing or using the toilet.

"If your child is not feeling well, it is important to keep him or her home from school until the symptoms have stopped," she told parents.

For more information contact your local health unit, their doctor or try phoning 8-1-1 HealthLinkBC (a free call) or visiting www.healthlinkbc.ca