There are so many viruses that go around the school yard, many of which we can’t do anything about. With that said, we always want to know what it is and how to avoid it! We asked Dr. Marla all of our burning questions about the hand, foot and mouth, also knows as the Coxsachie virus, as it goes around the neighbourhood at one point of another throughout the year.
How do you know if your child has Hand, Foot & Mouth?
This is a pretty common infection caused by a virus. The symptoms usually are a fever, feeling unwell and a sore throat. The next symptoms are sores in the mouth that can look like blisters. Your child may not want to eat or drink as these are painful. Then, as the name suggests, there is a rash on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. These too can look like blisters. As well the rash can spread to involve other areas.
Can adults get it?
Typically we see this in children under age 5 but adults can get this, too. Sometimes they will not have any symptoms but can spread the virus to others.
Is it contagious and for how long?
This disease is caused by the Coxsachie virus. It is contagious as the virus is found in saliva, the lining of the nose, throat and mouth secretions, the fluid in the blisters and in stool. So contact can happen through the air – so called airborne transmission like a cough or sneeze, though contact with an ill person, the stool as well as contaminated surfaces such as toys. The greatest period of being contagious is during week one of the illness but sometimes it can still be spread up to weeks after the infection appears to go away.
What are preventative measures?
Stay home when you are sick! But as always, hand washing hand washing hand washing is so important as well as keeping all surfaces clean. The CDC has great information to provide you with tips on staying healthy. Any close contact like hugging and kissing or sharing glasses should be avoided.
What else do parents need to know?
Watch your child closely for any signs of dehydration. Often kids won’t want to eat or drink because of the pain. Any concerns that this is happening should always be checked out by your health care provider!