Hand, foot and mouth disease, a virus typically found in young children, is making the rounds in Summit County this summer, with pediatricians reporting more cases than in past years.

"Ever since the beginning of the summer we have been seeing rip roaring cases of hand, foot and mouth and it's been more widespread in the incidents and a worse severity than we've seen in the past," said Summit Pediatrician doctor Monica Schaffer.

Hand, foot and mouth disease starts as a fever and is followed by mouth sores and pimply rashes found in between the fingers and on the feet. This year, symptoms are more severe, including higher fevers, rashes that have spread the arms and legs and worsening sores around the mouth that make it difficult to eat or drink. In toddlers, parents may not realize their children have hand, foot and mouth until the child refuses to eat and they take them to see the doctor where children are diagnosed.

"A mom told me the other day that her child took a gulp of juice and made a face and spit the juice out as if it was hurting," Schaffer said. "Most of the time we see this virus in younger kids who can't necessarily say they are sick. The parents don't know they have mouth sores until they bring them in often times, and they bring their kids in because they've stop eating."

The virus is a more aggressive strain than in past years and has affected more children in a broader range of ages, even with some adults contracting it. The length of the illness has also increased, Schaffer said.


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With a typical case, she would estimate three to five days of fever and blistering before the virus subsided. This year, she told parents the virus could last a week to 10 days.

"Last year, we saw cases trickling in all summer long, but only a few," Schaffer said. "This year, there was a huge spike in early June coming mostly from the preschools and the daycares. And it was mostly in the younger kids.

"This week, we're seeing a huge incidence in the local Hispanic community, and that could be the contagion pattern at work."

Illnesses such as hand, foot and mouth come in waves, she added, and with school starting next week the incident rate for contracting the virus could spike again. The virus is transmitted in saliva droplets, spread either by coughing, sneezing, drooling and coughing or by surface contact to a contaminated area.

Sharie Bollwinkel, owner of Mountain Home Childcare, said she's seen it in past years and has a set drill in place for dealing with hand, foot and mouth.

"If we see it, when we close that night, we contact all parents, Clorox all the surfaces and everything gets washed before next day," she said. "We try to keep everything as clean as possible. Obviously, we don't' want the virus to go home to brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents."

But even with the best of protocols, hand, foot and mouth is still making its way through the community. Schaffer estimated that in a normal year her office of five pediatricians might treat two to three cases in a week, but at its height this year, each doctor was seeing eight to 10 cases in a week.

"Really, the kids most at risk for getting worst of it are those that are preschool-aged," she said. "And there's going to be a lot more chance of exposure with preschool starting. That's very possible."

If you believe your child has the symptoms for hand, foot and mouth, Schaffer recommended isolation and keeping the child hydrated. Because it is a virus, there is little recourse for treatment other than to let the disease pass and prevent further spread. To make the child more comfortable, Schaffer recommended cool, soft foods such as popsicles, apple sauce, jello, yogurt, ice chips and ice water.

They go to play group, or grocery store meet other kids, infected them aas well

Pediatrician, MD

Ever since the beinging of the summer we have been seeing rip roaring cases of hand foot and mouth and its been more widespread in the incidents and a worse severity than we've seen in the past

Virus causes sores in the mouth

Pimpl;y looking sores in between the fingers and on the bottom of the foot

On little kids, can get rash on body

Vesicle blistery type symptoms on mouth

Not just breaking out in between fingers but up hands and arms

On the legs

Its not clear to me if it's a different virus or what, been really bad this year

Kids will get these mouth sores

Most of the time we see this virus in younger kids and the parents don't know they have mouth sores unless they bring them in

They stop eating

This year kids have been down and out for a much longer period of time

Average, I've always told people three to five days

A fever, then fever subsides and

This year, telling people seven to 10 days

Illness, not immunity

Does not boost immune system to where you'll get it again

Different strain, one no one has had before, hitting everyone much harder than usual

Classically in toddler age group

Spread by respitratory droplets, so drooling and sneezing and coughing

Mostly drooly snotty kids who are spreading and getting it

Adults have had it, maybe some body aches

This year we're seeing it in all age groups and even in some adults

Really, since virus no antibotiotic

It just has to run its course, treatment is supporting kids through it

Ibuprofen can help, cool soft foods

Popsicles, apple sauce, jello, yogurt, ice chips, ice water

Will help it feel better, biggest risk is dehydration

Kids don't want to drink

Usually summer to fall illness

Last year, we saw cases trickling in all summer long, but just a few

This year there was a huge spike in early june

They came from the preschools and the daycares

Mkostly in the younger kids

This week seeing a huge incidence in Hispanic community

Could be the contagion pattern

Possible kids could get twice in one summer, chance are would be less severe second time

Really, the kids most at risk for getting worst of it, preschool aged

There's going to be a lot more chance of exposure, its possible

At its height, I'd say each of us saw eight to 10 cases in a week

From two cases total a week

Five doctors in her office

It died down for a while

Usually things come in waves

Its popped up again in the last week or so, hitting another wave

Ways to prevent, carried by droplets and saliva

If child has it, usually have to try to isolate child, keep at home

Fever one of first symptoms

Second sign, a few days later, just stop eating

A mom told me the other day that her child took a gulp of juice and made a face and spit the juice out as if it was hurting.

Sharie Bollwinkel

Mountain Home Childcare

I've seen it a little bit

Have really great parents

Signs of it, get to it pretty quick

Rashes, usually don't want to eat,

People ask why don't they want to eat and then you suddenly see the rash

Have temp, should be excluded from daycare

Always done, know had something like that

Close that night, contact all parents

Clorox all surfaces, everything gets washed before next day

Try to keep everytyhing as clean as possible

Protect health of all children

Not only protecting immeadiate children, other siblings parents anyone come in contact with

Obviously, we don't' want it go home to borothers, sisters, parnets, grandparetns

They go to play group, or grocery store meet other kids, infected them aas well

Never know which child compromised immunilocically

Vital I keep facilty as clean as I possibly can