There is a late summer illness that Nebraskans need to be aware of. Dr. Kari Simonsen is a professor of pediatrics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha and says it is called hand, foot and mouth disease and it typically infects young children.
Dr. Simonsen says, “It is spread through respiratory secretions, things like coughs and sneezes and then also through gastrointestinal secretions either through direct contact with an infected person or even things like changing diapers. The virus is also environmentally hearty and you can catch it if you are in contact with contaminated surfaces or objects.”
Dr. Simonsen says it is called hand, foot and mouth disease because of the classic rash that includes mouth blisters or red spots or blisters on the heads and feet. However, that rash can show up on other parts of the body. You can also have respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms but not every person experiences them all. Other symptoms include fever, sore throat, lethargy, irritability and loss of appetite.
This virus shows up annually but as people get older they can build up a resistance to it and show no symptoms. However, they can spread it to others if they are infected.
Hand, foot and mouth disease usually lasts anywhere from two days to a week and medical attention typically isn’t required.