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7/30/2018 5:34:00 PM
Hand, foot and mouth disease on the rise in Evansville-area
Symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease
  • High fever
  • Reduced appetite or loss of appetite
  • Sore throat
  • Feeling unwell
  • Painful mouth sores that usually begin as flat red spots
  • Rash of flat red spots that may blister on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and sometimes the knees, elbows, buttocks, and/or genital area


Segann March, Evansville Courier & Press Neighborhood Issues Reporter

EVANSVILLE — Victoria Payton didn't expect her five-month-old twin sons to encounter fever, loss of appetite and red spots due to hand foot and mouth disease. She thinks the boys may have gotten it from daycare. 

"They had a light case so it wasn’t as bad," Payton said. "Tylenol helped at the times that they really seemed in pain. It was hard to watch them hurt."

Local experts say more children are likely to suffer from the virus this year. According to Deaconess Pediatric Urgent Care Medical Director Keith Tolar, more infants and toddlers have been diagnosed over the last few weeks. 

"This year we're getting a lot of hand, foot and mouth disease (cases)," he said. "We've been seeing it all summer and a little bit of an uptick in the last week or two."

Tolar said hand, foot and mouth disease and other enteroviruses are common among infants and children under 8 during the summer months.  

The viruses causing the disease can be found in an infected person's feces, nose and throat secretions as well as blister fluid. 

"Fevers are kind of the non-specific symptom but often times the first symptom," Tolar said. "Anybody with a fever of 102 should be seen by their pediatrician. Any fevers that last longer than 2-3 days should be seen as well."

While some children encounter mild cases of hand, foot and mouth disease, other children encounter harsher symptoms. 

Evansville mother Ashley Kapper discovered her son has the disease after visiting the doctor for his 18-month check-up. She knew he felt warm but didn't know the exact reason. But quickly the symptoms started to appear and worsen. 

"The pain medicine I gave him only made him scream due to the sores in his mouth," she said. "The doctor's office just kept telling us to let it run its course. He couldn’t sleep or eat, and it was miserable."

Tolar urges parents and guardians to keep their children at home while they are sick with hand, foot and mouth disease. Usually, the disease lasts no more than a week, but there have been reports where it's contagious for weeks after, he said.

Allow the disease to run its course, but be sure to keep children on a bland diet and give them extra fluids. Tolar also recommends using Tylenol or Ibuprofen to reduce fever and alleviate pain.

"We could see a bit of an uptick once school starts back," he said. "We're seeing a lot of the younger kids now, but it's not uncommon to see middle school age or below. So some of those older kids might be coming in the next couple of weeks once school is in."

While hand, foot and mouth disease may be rampant this year, another childhood sickness may be more prominent next summer, he emphasized. 

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Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR


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