AUSTIN (KXAN) — There has been an increase nationwide in a painful childhood disease called hand, foot and mouth disease.
Symptoms usually include a fever, painful blisters on the mouth, hands and foot.
KXAN checked in with a local doctor to find out if the cases are still on the rise. Dr. Michael Gennrich with the Austin Regional Clinic says the illness usually impacts kids under the age of five but says it can spread to older kids and adults in a less severe form.
“For adults usually they just have a sore throat — that’s the best clue,” he says.
The pediatrician says the virus is highly contagious for up to a week and says the biggest sign for parents to watch for is when the child isn’t eating and has a fever. “A lot of times if you’re looking you’ll see a little red spot around the hands, feet or diaper area and sometimes even a little blister which is really a giveaway for this disease,” Gennrich says.
The doctor says kids should stay home from school and child care facilities as long as they have a fever, “I think most kids have a pretty tough time for about three days and maybe for a week they are not feeling perfect and after that they are doing OK,” he says.
Since the illness is a virus, pediatricians suggest hand washing is the best defense. The Austin Regional Clinic says the cases of hand foot and mouth disease appear to be on the decline just in time for flu season.