My gym has sent out notices several times this summer that the childcare center will be closed for a certain period of time to allow disinfecting for Hand Foot and Mouth disease. I don’t use the childcare center so I mostly disregard the notices, but since I have no clue what this is about, today let’s find out.
According to MayoClinic.org, it is defined as:
Hand-foot-and-mouth disease — a mild, contagious viral infection common in young children — is characterized by sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet. Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is most commonly caused by a coxsackievirus.
Symptoms include fever, sore throat, blisters in the mouth and a red rash on the palms of the hands/soles of the feet which is generally not itchy. In infants, it can also include a rash on the buttocks that mimics diaper rash. And along with all these unpleasant items you generally feel unwell and may not have an appetite. Doesn’t sound delightful does it?
The infection is very common in childcare settings because the root virus is associated with not washing hands well after using the bathroom. Given the amount of diaper changes and the number of small kids in daycare settings once the infection gets going it’s hard to stop. A child can be infected and not show symptoms for several days – and it takes several days for it to get out of a child’s system. It can also be spread via a sneeze, saliva or contact with the fluid from the blisters of an infected child. So the potential for passing the infection is certainly high.
The good news is that the infection is fairly mild and can easily be treated with about a week of rest at home and OTC medications like Tylenol or Advil. And as a child’s immune system matures, it recognizes the virus and generally keeps subsequent infections more mild or non-existent.
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Hand Foot and Mouth is on the rise so make sure your kids are practicing good hygiene to help avoid it!