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Protect your toddlers from Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

Posted September 22

Be aware and take control. (Deseret Photo)

With recent outbreaks of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease in Florida and New Jersey, here’s everything you need to know about this brutal virus. Information about this disease sourced from the Center of Disease Control.

What to know

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease, commonly known as HFMD, is a virus most common in humid areas, but outbreaks can be caused anywhere, particularly when the weather is changing. HFMD usually affects children under the age of five, but the recent outbreaks in Florida and New Jersey presented cases of the virus infecting high school and even college aged students.

HFMD is a viral disease, meaning there are no antibiotics and not much the doctors can do once it presents. The best thing to do is take precautionary measures so your child doesn’t get HFMD. If they do contract the virus, all you can do is wait it out and make sure your child stays hydrated. HFMD usually takes one to two weeks to go away.

What to look for

HFMD initially presents as a common cold. A sore throat, a slight fever and all around achiness, but more severe symptoms progress quickly. Painful sores in and around the mouth and a red splotchy rash on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet soon appear. This rash can also spread to elbows, knees, buttocks and genital areas.

How it spreads

HFMD is spread through saliva, mucous, blisters and feces. Coughing, sneezing, drooling and close contact can all spread this virus. Hugging an infected individual or touching an infected door handle and then touching your mouth or eyes drastically increase your chance of contracting HFMD.

What parents should do

Especially with the new school year, now is the time to be especially concerned about your child's health. Have your kids wash their hands often throughout the day. If your child appears to have a cold, keep them home from preschool or daycare until you are sure they will not infect others. If your child does present with HFMD, talk with your doctor and keep your child hydrated; drinking and eating might be difficult due to mouth sores.The best thing you can do for your child is to be aware of the risk for infection and take the necessary precautions now.

Kelsey is a student at Brigham Young University studying to broaden her horizons through the written word. She loves the outdoors, family, car washes and punny witticisms.

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