Hand, foot and mouth disease moving up the east coast now in NY

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BRIGHTON, N.Y. (WROC-TV) – As parents get ready to send their kids back to school, there is something else they should also be preparing for.

The contagious illness hand, foot and mouth disease is working its way up the east coast. Doctors say peak season is just about here, so it won’t be long before it reaches Rochester. Classrooms and day cares are the first places it can be found. 

Dr. Janet Williams, the medical director at Rochester Regional Health, says adults aren’t immune to this virus. It’s been known to go through families. 

“Sometimes it will just be small red circles… Sometimes there will be a little bump to the redness and at times we will see vesicles or blisters develop. If you see blister lesions on the palms of the hands, the feet and then the mouth, that’s the classic case of hand, foot and mouth disease,” said Dr. Williams.   

It starts out with a fever, followed by a sore throat and runny nose, then comes the rash. These symptoms can arrive several days after a person gets infected. In that time, it can easily be spread. 

“It’s spread through mucus, your nasal secretions, oral secretions, the lesions themselves can spread the virus and also fecal material can spread the virus,” said Dr. Williams.

In other words: Kissing, hugging, sharing food and drinks or even changing a baby’s diaper can spread it. There’s no medication to treat this. It’s just about hydration and pain medicines. 

Doctors say it’s important to wash your hands thoroughly, especially after contact with children. This virus can remain contagious up to two weeks even after the symptoms start to subside.

The disease often spreads through day care centers and schools in a similar way to the common cold. Doctors are urging parents to keep their children home if  they have open blisters and a fever.

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