Knoxville medical professional warns against hand, foot and mouth disease

Aug. 3, 2017: Hand, foot and mouth disease is making the rounds, and the cases are spiking in East Tennessee.

KNOXVILLE - Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is making the rounds this summer in East Tennessee.

The disease is mostly found in kids, but adults can get it too.

It causes fevers, rashes on hands and feet and blister-like sores in the mouth.

The rash that sets it apart from the flu.

"I had a year, maybe two years ago, both of my children had hand, foot and mouth at the same time," said Family Nurse Practicioner Michael Norman, who works at Summit Express Clinic in Bearden.

Norman has dealt with hand, foot and mouth disease personally.

"The 4-year-old had a case that was much milder than the 2-year-old," said Norman. "The 2-year-old's rash was just terrible."

The virus typically only affects young children - symptoms include a cough, fever or sore throat.

"The age range that I've diagnosed it in recently is the 5 or 6-year-old age range," Norman said.

But for adults, it can be different.

"The rash is typically a lot worse with children, the older you get, the rash is not quite so pronounced, but now some of the other symptoms you get - the flu-like symptoms, it seems adults struggle with that a little bit more than the children," said Norman.

Norman says the cases are spiking in Knoxville.

"A lot of times the parents may or may not realize the child was sick," said Norman.

Symptoms look like the flu, but when you see a rash, you know it's hand, foot and mouth disease.

"So the children sometimes will get rashes in their mouth, blisters in their mouth and that's somewhat painful," said Norman.

While it happens much more in kids, adults can get it as well.

"Touching contaminated surfaces. It's commonly found, one of the easiest ways to get it is respiratory droplets. and then also fecal matter, like if you're changing a child's diaper," said Norman.

The virus can spread easily, especially in places like daycares.

"Daycares are tough. Kids don't know hygiene, and there's no teaching the kid hygiene, and you throw in the fact that parents use daycares because they have to go to work, so the parent is forced to, I mean, you're in a position where I have to send my child to daycare or I'm going to lose my job," Norman said.

Ultimately, keeping the house wiped down and washing your hands will help.

"Anything that they touch, as far as like remote controls, and wash your hands," said Norman. "It's pretty effective."

Norman says you can't cure hand, foot and mouth virus directly, so you just have to wait it out, drink plenty of fluids and take some pain relievers to help.

© 2017 WBIR.COM


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