Back to School Can Mean Spreading Diseases

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Knoxville (WVLT) - Most parents are relieved kids are back in school and settling back into normal routines.

But homework isn't the only thing your children might bring home with them, especially this time of year.

Medical Reporter Jessa Goddard takes a closer look at hand, foot and mouth disease and why it's so common this time of year.

Two strains of hand, foot and mouth disease are particular to East Tennessee, coxsackie and entero viruses, and they're most common here in the summer and fall.

"It probably mostly has to do with school starting back, part of it is that it simply peaks in the summer and fall in climates like this that are moderate temperature areas,” UT Medical Center Pediatrician William Harrison says hand, foot and mouth disease is a common childhood illness, that's rarely serious and usually goes away in a week or so.

At first, your child may feel tired, get a sore throat or have a fever of around 101 to 103.

Then in a day or two, you child may get sores or blisters on the hands, feet and mouth.

"Most of the time, it's not really necessary to see the doctor, except again, in those cases where there's so many sores in the mouth that you're having trouble with the feedings and your worried about dehydration,” Dr. Harrison says.

A doctor can tell if your child has hand, foot and mouth disease by the symptoms you describe and by looking at the sores and blisters.

"There is no specific treatment, it would be, you could use teething preparations to numb the sores in the mouth, you could change to more of a liquid diet so it doesn't hurt to eat and drink,” Dr. Harrison says.

But there are things that you can do to help relieve your child's symptoms:

Offer your child plenty of cool fluids.

Don't give your child acidic or spicy foods and drinks... These can make mouth sores more painful.

Give your child Tylenol or Advil for pain and fever.

The best way to help prevent the disease from spreading is through thorough and frequent hand-washing.

Don't let your child share toys or give kisses while he or she is infected.

And wear rubber gloves when you apply any lotion, cream or ointment to your child's blisters.

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