LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The hand-foot-and-mouth disease is making its way across the Lubbock area, infecting children and adults.
Doctors say it's common to see prevalent cases of the virus in early Fall.
"It's everywhere," Dr. Joshua Hill with Covenant Medical Group said. "We know that it's transmitted fecal-orally. It lives in the lower GI tract and often times the younger kids and folks in daycare and things like that, whenever they are changing diapers it gets on to a surface. The kids, they get that on their hands and ingest the virus in their mouth and that's how it spreads from person to person."
Director of Public Health for the City of Lubbock Katherine Wells said there is about three to six days from exposure to when you start seeing symptoms. Those symptoms include a cough or effects of a cold and a rash or blisters on the body, including the inside of the mouth.
"When my daughter had it, she was in a lot of mouth pain and wasn't eating so that was hard to deal with because she was hungry and tired and cranky," Wells said.
"Because it's a virus, we don't have antibiotics to treat it," Wells said. "It's really care for the child. If the child feels very sick, you should talk to the pediatrician."
Dr. Hill said rather than treating the specific disease, it's supportive treatment for the symptoms.
"If they have a fever, we are controlling the fever with Tylenol or Ibuprofen as needed to help the kiddos feel better," Dr. Hill said. "Fever is often times what wipes them out. Also, the Tylenol or Ibuprofen helps with the pain and oral lesions in the mouth."
Dr. Hill said the lesions on the other parts of the body don't usually cause problems but he says it's important to watch them in case they turn yellow or more red, which may indicate a bacterial infection.
"As a parent you're always concerned when your child is sick or not feeling well," Dr. Hill said. "This is generally a mild viral syndrome. It goes away on its own. With Tylenol and Ibuprofen, making sure the kids are eating an drinking OK. They usually do fine."
Both experts encourage proper hygiene to avoid the disease.
"That's making sure you are washing your hands before and after changing a diaper or coming in contact with any fluid that may be infectious," Dr. Hill said. "Then also wiping off surfaces with anti viral disinfectants. It's a ubiquitous virus so it's everywhere. Hygiene is the number one way to prevent it."
"Schools can do a very deep cleaning and make sure their staff is well educated and make sure the staff is washing their hands, washing toys," Wells said. "Especially with young kids, toys and stuff can go into the mouths and go to the next kids, so make sure you get that cleaned."
According to Dr. Hill, the effects of the virus typically go away within a week or 10 days but the virus will stay in the body for up to a month or month and a half later.