LUBBOCK, TX - Lubbock moms and pediatricians are seeing an increase in the Hand Foot and Mouth virus in Lubbock. Doctors said this is the first wave of the virus so far but they expect to see at least two more waves before the end of the school season.
"When it starts, we see one or two cases and then lots of them passing through," said Dr. Nawal Zeitouni. "It's kind of like strep or flu, it's contagious so it's hard to contain."
Doctors see more than 200,000 cases of the virus each year nationally. It mostly affects babies and toddlers. The virus mainly causes sores on the hand, feet and inside the mouth.
"It can cause rashes and blisters on the hands and feet. It's called hand foot and mouth because babies put their hands and feet in their mouth and that's where we think the blisters kind of come from," said Zeitouni.
And although the virus is not harmful long term, it causes a lot of pain for the child when they have it.
"Children are drooling, it hurts to swallow, eat or drink really well," said Zeitouni. "Because it's a virus, our hands are tied of what we can do. It's all about comfort care."
Symptoms to look for include fever, general fussiness and eventually rashes on the hand, feet and inside the mouth.
"If you do see a rash on hands, feet, diaper area, anything that looks different, that you haven't normally seen, you should probably check that out," said Zeitouni.
Doctors said although it's difficult to prevent, hand washing is a must. Also being aware of any outbreaks of the virus in schools or day care centers can help you avoid it.
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