What is making you sick? 2 viruses more common in the summer

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Austin doctors see a rise in certain illnesses during summer months

AUSTIN (KXAN) — There is never a convenient time to get sick but local pediatricians say they see a rise in the summer of young children getting sick with two contagious viruses: hand-foot-and-mouth disease and  Fifth’s Disease.

KXAN contacted several doctors with the Austin Regional Clinic, Dell Children’s Medical Center and Texas Children’s Urgent Care and asked what illnesses are going around.

Dr. Eric Higginbotham of Dell Children’s Medical Center’s Emergency room says he is seeing an increase in cases of hand-foot-and-mouth disease.

“It’s a mild, contagious viral infection common in young children and is characterized by sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet,” he says.

The uptick in cases happens every summer says Dr. Higginbotham, something other doctors are noticing as well. Dr. Lisa Gaw at Texas Children’s Urgent Care Westgate in South Austin says parents should schedule an appointment if kids start showing symptoms.

“Classically, you get little blisters on the palms of your hand and soles on your feet,” she says.

Austin Regional Clinic chiefs of pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine and after hours report seeing cases of Fifth’s disease.

That is a viral illness fairly common among children under 5 years old, characterized by bright red cheeks and a mild skin rash that usually resolves quickly and without complications.

Other illnesses

Doctors at the Austin Regional clinic report seeing these illnesses as well:

  1. Viral gastroenteritis (vomiting and diarrhea) and viral sore throats. These illnesses typically go away after a few days and are best resolved by resting.
  2. Allergies due to high mold counts.
  3.  “Flu-like” colds — severe colds that include fever and achiness.

Dr. Nicholas Wagner of Southwest Pediatrics says strep throat has been fairly common so far this summer. He says the symptoms to look for are: fever, sore throat, headache, abdominal pain and swollen glands in the neck.

Dr. Wagner says strep throat is “a little less common for children under 3, but when they get it they may have high fever and fussiness along with yellow and green nasal discharge. It is treated with antibiotics.”

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