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Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease on the rise

Posted at 6:17 PM, Jul 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-31 15:32:53-04

TULSA -- Doctors are seeing a spike in cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. 

Dr. John Lukeman, a pediatrician at the Warren Clinic in south Tulsa said he has seen an increased number of cases. He said that is typical at this time of the year. 

"It's a summertime virus," Dr. Lukeman said. "A lot of times when kids start going back to school and daycare, that's when we start seeing a huge increase in it." 

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is not an illness reported to the state of Oklahoma, so exact numbers are not available. 

It is a very painful illness that causes high fevers and painful rashes. Usually it is just on the hand, feet and mouth, but it can be all over, especially for babies. 

"A lot of these children won't want to eat, especially the ones who aren't verbal," Dr. Lukeman said. "They can't tell you my mouth or my throat hurts, but they'll stop eating because it hurts to swallow."

Adults can also get it. 

"The virus can be shed in stool, so it can be spread by people changing babies diapers and not washing thoroughly, but it can also be spread through respiratory droplets," Dr. Lukeman said.

Coincidentally, Dr. Lukeman's son has it right now. 

He, like other parents we spoke to, talked about how painful it is. 

One mother, who got it herself along with her daughter, said the two of them lost weight because they did not want to eat or drink. 

Another mom could not walk because the lesions on her feet were so painful. 

There is no way to speed up the process of getting over Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. Doctors can only treat the symptoms. It usually lasts 10 to 14 days.

One mother said she had to keep her son out of school almost a month.

"Children are typically contagious certainly while they are having fever and 24 hours after their last fever," Dr. Lukeman said. "Watching the rash can be helpful. If the rash is still worsening, then the child is probably still contagious." 

Dr. Lukeman said it is not necessary to go to the doctor if you suspect you have it. He said the pain can be treated at home with Tylenol or Motrin. He did say if the symptoms start worsening or if the patient starts urinating less frequently, medical attention is necessary.


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