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Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease in Youth in the North Okanagan

Hand and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common viral infection that usually affects children under the age of 5. The disease is characterized by a rash on the hands, feet, and mouth. Other symptoms may include fever, a sore throat, and fatigue.

 

HFMD is caused by a group of viruses known as enteroviruses. These viruses are spread through contact with saliva, mucus, or fluid from blisters. The virus can also be spread through contact with contaminated surfaces.

The outbreak in the North Okanagan has been particularly severe, with some schools reporting dozens of cases. Health officials are urging parents and caregivers to take steps to prevent the spread of the virus, such as washing hands frequently and avoiding close contact with infected children.

 

Here are some of the symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease:

  • Rash: The rash typically starts on the hands and feet and then spreads to the mouth. The rash may look like small, red bumps or blisters.
  • Fever: A fever is often present, but it is usually mild.
  • Sore throat: A sore throat is common, and it may make it difficult to swallow.
  • Fatigue: Children with HFMD may be tired and irritable.

 

Here are some tips to prevent the spread of hand, foot, and mouth disease:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Avoid close contact with infected children.
  • Do not share food or drinks with infected children.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that may have been contaminated with the virus.

 

If your child has HFMD, there is no specific treatment. The best course of action is to keep your child hydrated and comfortable. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help reduce fever and pain.

HFMD is usually a mild illness, and most children recover within a week. However, in rare cases, the virus can cause more serious complications, such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord).

If you are concerned that your child may have HFMD, please contact your doctor.

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