How to deal with Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- About 200,000 cases of Hand, foot, and mouth disease are reported every year in the U.S., according to the CDC.

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Doctors want to warn parents now that kids are back in school or daycare. They say this illness is more common when kids go back to school because they're surrounded by other kids.

It usually starts with a fever, reduced appetite, sore throat, or a feeling of being unwell. It can also be a very painful condition.

According to the CDC, one or two days after the fever starts, painful sores can develop in the mouth. They usually begin as small red spots, often in the back of the mouth, that blister and can become painful. A skin rash on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet may also develop over one or two days as flat, red spots, sometimes with blisters. It may also appear on the knees, elbows, buttocks or genital area.

Some people, especially adults, may become infected and show no symptoms at all, but they can still pass the virus to others.

Emily Thompson, Eau Claire mother of two, dealt with both of her sons getting Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease. Her youngest son was the first to contract the virus.

“He broke his fever,” said Thompson. “I thought everything was fine and two days later he ended up with spots on his feet and then they went to his hands, then they went to his mouth.”

Her other child showed symptoms shortly after.

“He sucks his thumb, so he had it on his mouth, up and down his thumbs, and they weren't able to go back to daycare,” said Thompson.

Registered Nurse at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital, Lisa Stary, said here's no specific treatment for Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, which she says can sometimes occur in older children and even adults.

However, you can do some things to relieve symptoms such as take over-the-counter medications to relieve pain and fever. Although the CDC says Aspirin should not be given to children. You can also use mouthwashes or sprays that numb mouth pain.

You can lower your risk of being infected by washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers and using the toilet.

The CDC also recommends cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and soiled items, including toys. Also, avoid close contact such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups with people with hand, foot, and mouth disease.