Rockford area doctors are seeing a rise in cases of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease.
The relatively common and extremely contagious viral infection usually starts in the throat. While it occurs most often in children, it can occur in adults as well and outbreaks usually occur in the summer and early fall. Kids five and under are most at risk.
Symptoms can include a fever, reduced appetite, sore throat, and general feeling of being unwell. A day or two after the fever begins, painful sores can appear in the mouth and a rash of flat red spots can develop on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet. The rashes can also occur in the knees, elbows, and buttocks. The rash may blister, but it usually will not itch.
According to the CDC, not everyone gets all of the symptoms and some may just get a rash while others may have no symptoms at all. However, even if no symptoms develop, the person can still pass the disease to others.
The disease is spread through nose and throat secretions, blister fluid, and feces. Close contact, coughing and sneezing, and touching objects with the virus on their surface can also spread it.
"It usually peaks after three to five days," Dr. William Renk explained. "Technically, since the virus is in the lesions, you're contagious until the lesions are gone."
Dr. Renk says there is no treatment for the virus and those who have it are advised to wait it out.
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