What causes foot hand and mouth disease? That’s the question people are asking after the virus sidelined both Major League Baseball players and college football players this summer.
Athletes aren’t the only ones affected, though: Doctors across the United States are seeing more cases of Foot Hand and Mouth Disease pop up as schools go back into session.
“Because it will sweep through a community, I think it’s important for families, schools and community leaders to realize we have this right now, particularly at the beginning of the school year,” Dr. Scott Norton, the chief of Dermatology at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C., told Fox 5. “We don’t want to have any outbreaks as these kids all get together once again, so I would like to get the word out that this is something we are seeing a lot of here in mid-August.”
What causes Foot Hand and Mouth Disease?
Foot Hand and Mouth Disease is a highly contagious virus — the coxsackievirus — that tends to affect children five and under, meaning that schools and daycare centers are always on high alert for outbreaks.
Symptoms of Foot Hand and Mouth Disease include everything from fever to irritability, but the most common symptom is a red rash that appears on the palms, soles and sometimes the butt, along with red blister-like lesions in and around the mouth that can be painful, but not always.
“They will look like scattered dots – maybe three or four millimeters in diameter and they usually have a very bright red rim, but they are totally painless,” Dr. Nelson said.
How is Foot Hand and Mouth Disease spread?
Foot Hand and Mouth Disease is transmitted in three different ways.
“It’s transmitted through oral and nasal secretions,” Nelson told Fox 5. “So if a child sneezes or coughs on someone, that can transmit it. It can be transmitted directly through contact with mini-blisters on the skin and the virus can also be transmitted through soiled diapers.”
So, how are adults — like Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard and Yankees pitcher J.A. Happ — getting it? By being around infected children, mostly likely.
What causes Foot Hand and Mouth Disease mostly is improper hygiene.
“People don’t wash their hands well, and that’s why you see it in kids,” Dr. Jason Newland, a pediatric infectious diseases physician for Washington University and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, told USA Today. “Their hygiene isn’t very good.”
The good news: It typically goes away within a few days, but it’s best to contact a doctor if symptoms linger.