Family Corner: Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease on the Rise
It’s that time of year when many viruses start making their presence known, and lately one virus has been more prevalent than usual. Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a highly contagious illness that is most commonly seen in young children, but can affect adults. In late 2016, HFMD outbreaks began appearing across the country, including an outbreak at Florida State University and another at the University of Illinois. RediClinic, your neighborhood walk-in clinic, offers more information about this disease.
What is Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease?
HFMD is spread by direct contact with the unwashed hands of an infected person or contaminated surfaces. It can also be spread by contact with an infected person’s saliva, mucus or stool. The virus is often found among children in daycare or school settings because of potty training and frequent diaper changes, and because little children often put their hands in their mouths. However, the disease can also spread easily among adults living in close quarters such as college dorms and military barracks.
Symptoms of Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease
A fever is often the first symptom of HFMD, followed by painful sores that appear in the mouth or throat one or two days later. Symptoms vary from person to person and may include:
- Sore throat
- Painful sores on tongue, gums or inside cheeks
- Red rash or blisters on the hands and feet
- Loss of appetite
HFMD is generally mild and resolves within a few days. However, children are susceptible to dehydration because the sore throat and mouth sores caused by the virus can make it painful to eat and drink. The good news is those who get the disease generally become immune to future infection.
Get Healthy at RediClinic
If you suspect you or your child have HFMD, or you are unsure of the cause of your illness, head to RediClinic, where a board-certified clinician can provide an accurate diagnosis. Your clinician can also recommend treatments to help ease symptoms until the disease has run its course. Contact your clinician if symptoms worsen, or if the illness prevents your child from drinking fluids. We treat individuals age 18 months and older.