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Summertime Spike In Cases Of Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jennifer Lindgren
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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Pediatricians are seeing a spike in the number of kids with a summer time virus called Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.

The ailment is characterized by sores on the palms of hands, soles of feet and inside of mouth.

Common in children age five and under, it spreads easily through touch or saliva. Doctors say it is especially prevalent in periods of hot weather, when the virus thrives.

The best prevention, according to the National Institutes of Health, is thorough hand washing and avoidance of other children who are sick with the virus.

“The virus typically lasts four to seven days and will go away on its own. Every once in a while we see children with some complications. They may have so much pain in their mouth they don’t want to drink so they get dehydrated. They may end up in the ER and will need IV fluids,” said Barbara Durso, MD, a pediatrician with Parkland Health and Hospital System.

Dr. Durso and her peers at Parkland Oakwest Health Center are diagnosing about three to five cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth each day.

“It’s the same little sores he has on the bottom of his feet, that he has in his mouth. He’s got them on his hands,” Dr. Durso explained to one father of a 13-month-old with the virus.

“Little guys like this one here today drool a lot and it’s spread by saliva. They’re in close contact with other kids because it’s summertime. They’re playing with each other,” said Dr. Durso.

Heather Creekmore says Hand, Foot, and Mouth has come up in conversation among her friends.

Creekmore is a writer for DallasMomsBlog. She knows parents whose children have come down with the disease, and she thinks her son might have caught a case as well.

“He all of a sudden started running a fever and the only thing he was complaining about was that his mouth was sore. We assumed that’s what it was, because he didn’t have any other symptoms,” said Creekmore.

Her three-year-old, Drew, was sick last week, but Heather says he is feeling better now.

She explains why Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is a concern among parents.

“I think it’s unfamiliar. It’s not one you hear about a lot. You kind of know what to do if your child has a cold or if you see symptoms of cold or flu. But if you didn’t see the sores in the mouth and you’re not sure why they’re telling you that their hands hurt or feet hurt, it seems peculiar. I think it’s disconcerting to moms when they don’t know what it is,” said Creekmore.

Dr. Durso says parents should try to control their kids’ pain.

“Using pain relievers like Ibuprofen or Tylenol help. You’ll find that if you’re a parent, cold things are going to go down better,” said Dr. Durso.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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