There’s a virus that is popping up across college campuses and day cares and it’s not flu. Well, the flu is one of them but another less well known disease called the Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (or HFDM) is affecting kids around the country. There have been 60 reported cases on the campus of the University of Illinois. It appears to be slowly making its way down south as students at Florida State University in Tallahassee and University of North Florida in Jacksonville have contracted the virus. There was even a recent cluster of cases from a Duval County day care this past week, totaling 9 overall incidences this year in the area.
How do you know if you have HFMD? People affected by it will often develop painful reddish lesions on the soles of their feet and palms of their hands as well as blisters inside their mouth. They usually also experience flu-like symptoms like fever, headache, sore-throat, and malaise. Fortunately it self resolves after 7-10 days and does not require any antibiotics or treatments.
HFMD can be very contagious which is why outbreaks are seen in communal areas such as dorms and day cares. It is easily spread through activities such as sneezing, coughing, sharing drinks, and poor hygiene practices. Prevention is the number one treatment as there is no vaccine currently available for it. Washing your hour hands with soap before and after close contact with another person is always a good idea. Avoid sharing drinks and eating utensils. If you believe you have symptoms of HFMD, stay at home and rest to help prevent spreading it to other people.
There are a lot of rashes and lesions found on the feet that can often mimic HFMD and vice versa. Most are harmless however there are some that can be detrimental to your health such as malignant melanoma. The only way of finding out is getting a biopsy and sending it to a lab to be tested. Here at Advanced Podiatry, we have trained specialists who can help determine if a biopsy is needed. Call us at (813) 875-0555 and make an appointment today for a full evaluation of your feet.