Common virus affecting children in its peak season, doctors warn parents

Posted at 11:38 AM, Jun 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-28 16:06:08-04

A virus affecting small children is in its peak season and doctors are warning parents about the dangers of the virus and how to prevent it.

The hand, foot and mouth disease is most common in children under the age of 7 and it is easily spread through bodily fluids of an infected person.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is highly contagious and just by coughing, sneezing or wiping a runny nose could be responsible for helping to spread those germs.

Doctors said a child who contracts the virus would present the characteristics of a rash on the hands, feet and mouth, which is how the virus received its name.

Dr. John Joseph from Baylor Scott & White said adults can also get the virus which is less common, but there is a reason why children are at a greater risk of catching it.

"Generally, children are more susceptible to a number of different viruses because of their immune systems. Also, the mucous membranes, or the lining of the mouth, for example...are a bit more susceptible to picking up those viruses," Joseph said.

Dr. Joseph also said because children are more susceptible it can make areas like daycares and schools, a high-risk zone if preventive measures are not put in place.

Practicing good hand hygiene is one of those preventative measures and is going to be an important factor in minimizing the spread of the virus.

"For the individual that has hand, foot and mouth disease, isolation is very important to prevent them from transmitting it. Keeping them out of daycare keeping the child out of school will prevent the spread of the disease to other individuals,” Joseph said.

Dr. Joseph said the virus usually leaves the system within a week but it is highly contagious so if a child contracts it, isolation is the best way to keep it from spreading.

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