Increased Risk of Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease in Summer

by Garreth Myers


Hand, foot and mouth disease is a common viral infection that occurs in people of all ages, especially children. This viral infection is characterized by the appearance of a rash on the hands, feet and around the mouth. Sores in the mouth are also common symptoms of this infection. Hand foot and mouth disease is highly contagious and can easily be passed on from one person to the other. People are exposed to the infection-causing virus through personal contact or even when they come into contact with the saliva, nasal discharge, throat discharge, blister fluid or the stools of an infected person. While this condition can occur at any time of the year, there is an increased risk of hand-foot-mouth disease in summer or during early fall. In places that have a tropical climate, the risks of this infection are high all year around.

In June 2012, the La Crosse Tribune reported an increasing number of hand foot and mouth disease cases sweeping Coulee. While health officials do not have an exact count of the reported cases, they do admit that the figure is higher than usual. Dr. Joseph Behn who works with the Urgent Care at the Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse, claims that this is no surprise. He adds that the virus spreads faster during summer, causing a low-grade breakout in several regions.

According to Traci Lien, a public health nurse at the La Crosse County Health Department, parents are getting quite concerned with the loss of appetite in their children. They usually call their doctors when they notice the sores on the hands and feet.

Dr. Stephanie Niec of Gundersen Lutheran’s Pediatric Department believes that the rash seems to be spreading further on the body this year, as it has started going on the arms and legs, instead of affecting just the hands and feet.

As most schools are preparing to close for the summer, day care centers are as busy as ever. To keep the virus from spreading, the staff at Coulee Children’s Center is taking extra precautionary measures by washing and sanitizing the toys children play with. Though this center has not had too many cases of hand foot and mouth disease, the staff and parents have been advised to become more vigilant than before.

Eileen Schneider from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta states that any child can contract hand foot and mouth disease, but it is more common in children below the age of 5. She also claims that this viral infection usually spreads more rapidly in the spring and summer season, though the symptoms are fairly mild. According to Schneider’s statement, children who suffer from hand foot and mouth disease experience symptoms like a fever as well as a rash that could be present on their hands, feet and maybe even the rest of their body. She adds that the child may also develop blister-like lesions on the skin and mouth.

In May 2012, there were several instances of hand foot and mouth disease in Cleveland County. Linda Kaser, Cleveland County Health Official educated people about the various signs and symptoms of the infection.

Dr. Christopher Jenning of Cleveland Family Practice wondered why this contagious disease was making its appearance at this time of the year, when it is more likely to make people sick around the colder months of the year.

Hand, Foot and Mouth disease is rarely serious and does not require any treatment. However, you can use over the counter medication to deal with the pain and fever. This condition is usually short-lived and lasts for no more than a week.

References:

  1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000965.htm
  2. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6112a5.htm

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