RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Have you heard of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease? Area doctors tell us they are seeing an increase in this highly contagious viral infection.
It's a nasty virus that causes red sores in the mouth, on the hands and feet. We're told children under the age of 5 are being hit especially hard.
"This year has been one of those bad outbreaks," said Dr. Kevin Connelly with the Chippenham Hospital Pediatric ER. "We are Seeing lots of kids with hand foot and mouth disease."
Dr. Connelly says he is seeing 5 to 10 cases a night at the Chippenham ER alone. He notes the disease is highly contagious and spreads easily.
"Runny nose," said Dr. Connelly. "Saliva…so it's very common in daycares and pre-school settings."
Fever can last for up to 5 days and then comes a sore throat and those pesky blisters in the mouth and on the hands and feet.
"The problem with the disease is that with the blisters in your mouth it hurts to swallow," said Dr. Connelly. "So children don't want to eat…don't want to drink. They have a risk of getting dehydrated."
It's typically just the little one's battling this one but adults are not immune.
"So if they hug you, they kiss you, they hold your hand," said Dr. Connelly. "They are passing the germ on to you."
This can be very painful for kids, but it's a virus and there is no treatment. Dr. Connelly says It just has to run its course.