West Virginia Sees 20 Hand Foot and Mouth Outbreaks Since September

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The idea of a hand foot and mouth outbreak can be alarming for parents.

“It’s pretty scary to think about that. You know, we’re just being really cautious,” said Sarah Gooding, a concerned parent. 

Since the beginning of 2016, there have been 33 outbreaks of hand foot and mouth disease in West Virginia. 20 of the reported outbreaks have been within the last month.

Pediatricians say the signs and symptoms are easy to identify.

“Feverish, doesn’t have as much energy, and if you look in their mouth sometimes you can see the ulcers. Sometimes they are around the lips but it can be in the back of the throat as well,” said Dr. Raheel Khan with Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Charleston, WV. 

The fast spreading virus can also impact adults. Since there is no official treatment for hand foot and mouth disease, doctors say prevention should start at home.

Make sure you are teaching your kids how to properly wash their hands. If you think they might already have the virus, be sure to keep them home from school. 

“If you have a child that has these symptoms keep them home, don’t let them be around other kids. If you have a child with these symptoms be sure to control the fever,” said Dr. Khan. 

While you can’t guarantee that hand foot and mouth won’t make it into your home, you can take extra precautions to fight it.

“I know kids are going to touch each other but I will try to teach her the proper methods of washing her hands and keeping her hands to herself when it comes to interaction with other people,” said Sarah Gooding.

Pediatricians say the virus is easily spread through coughing and sneezing, so teaching your kids to cover their cough and sneeze into their sleeve can be crucial to prevent spreading the illness.  

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