RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - An important health alert for anyone with children in the household: doctor's offices are seeing a spike in an unpleasant illness.
Hand Foot and Mouth Disease often spreads where large groups of children gather, leaving many sick for more than a week. Parents can become sick too - developing a sore throat, fever, and other symptoms.
Mother Chewanna Prak is concerned about the spread of the disease.
"I can't afford for my kid or myself to get sick," she said.
Prak said a child in her daughter's class was sick with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.
"Nobody notified us, but the kid told my daughter, and I'm like 'why is he in school?'," said Prak.
Dr. Melissa Aquilo with Patient First warns it is highly contagious.
"It's a miserable virus, but it will run its course in most people in three to 10 days," she said.
In the meantime, the symptoms can be extreme.
"You get these red bumps in the mouth, but you can also get them in the hands and the feet. You can get them on other areas of the body, including the genitals and buttocks area," said Dr. Aquilo.
There is no cure. It is a virus that has to work its way out out of the body. Doctors can only treat the symptoms - such as pain, sore throat, and fever - and provide tips for attempting to prevent the disease.
Those tips include: wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water - especially after using the restroom and before you eat, avoid touching your face, and if you or your child gets sick, stay away from others. Also, don't forget to disinfect common areas of the house and the kids' toys.
"They share their toys. Their toys have their germs on it. They don't wash their hands as well as most adults should…[If they] put a toy in their mouth and set the toy down and another child plays with it, we'll see a little outbreak in daycares in that kind of situation," Dr. Aquilo said.
"If you're sick, keep your kids at home. No one else wants to go through that, especially I don't as a parent," said Prak.
Doctors say a person can still be contagious days after they feel they have gotten better. If sick, it may be a good idea to ask your doctor how long you or your child should stay away from others.
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