Keep an eye out for hand-foot- and-mouth disease making the rounds

With winter approaching, local healthcare providers have started to see an increase in reports of children and some adults ill with Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease. According to the CDC, HFMD is common in infants and young children, although adults can also catch it. It usually causes fever, painful sores in the mouth, and a rash on the hands and feet. Most infected people recover in a week or two. Contrary to popular belief, HFMD is not the same disease as Hoof-and-Mouth Disease seen in cattle and humans can’t catch HFMD from cattle.

HFMD is very contagious and can be spread by coughing, sneezing, through direct contact with secretions and through stool. Because the person infected may be able to spread the disease for weeks, most children only need to stay home if they have a fever or if they are too ill to participate in school/daycare activities.

 

Treatment

Antibiotics are not effective to treat or prevent Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease, and though there is no cure for Hand-Foot-and-Mouth disease, symptoms can be relieved by drinking lots of fluids and getting lots of rest. Treat fever as advised by your healthcare provider and if your child isn’t able to swallow liquids because of the blisters, monitor for dehydration and follow up with your provider as needed.

 

Prevention

The best and most effective prevention is good hand-washing. The Centers for Disease Control recommend the following prevention steps:

•  Wash your hands often with soap and water especially after using a tissue or after changing a diaper.

•  Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

For more information or if you have any questions, please call Central Montana Health District at 535-3983.

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