Hand, foot and mouth disease affecting children in the Coastal Bend

Posted at 4:58 PM, May 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-15 17:58:44-04

Local doctors say hand, foot and mouth disease is common during the warmer months. It’s unclear why, but many pediatricians say they see cases at school and daycares in the area.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is a common virus that typically affects children under the age of ten. As a parent, there are some symptoms to look out for.

Dr. Jaime Fergie, the director for infectious diseases at Driscoll Children’s Hospital, says the telltale sign of hand, foot and mouth disease is a rash on different parts of the body.

"Children develop little skin lesions, little vesicles in the hands, in the feet, and inside the mouth," Dr. Fergie said.

Other symptoms include a high fever, loss of appetite, irritability and a sore throat. The symptoms usually appear in stages, and not everyone will get all of these symptoms. Some may show no symptoms at all but still be able to spread the disease.

Dr. Fergie says there is a simple way to prevent spreading hand, foot and mouth disease to anyone else.

"Good hand hygiene, good hand washing," Dr. Fergie said, "that is the key."?

However, many schools and daycares take preventative measures every day, including the staff at Bethune Early Child Development Center. Student health checks are required every morning, meanwhile the staff sanitizes toys at least twice a day and encourages children to wash their hands regularly.

"We do try as much as possible to control and to be pro-active with making sure that anything that gets our attention, that we act on it immediately," McCurn said.

Dr. Fergie says there is no medication to treat the disease, and it will typically resolve itself within three to five days.

If you suspect a child has hand, foot and mouth disease, they are encouraged to see a doctor. If he/she does have the disease, they must stay home from school until their symptoms are gone for a day.