Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a very contagious infection caused by a group of viruses.

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HFMD typically begins with a fever and complaints of generally feeling “unwell”. A day or two later, flat discolored spots or bumps that may blister, will appear on the hands, feet, and mouth, and occasionally buttocks and groin.

Symptoms of HFMD include:

  • Fever
  • Reduced appetite
  • Sore throat
  • A feeling of being unwell
  • Painful sores in the mouth that usually begin as flat red spots
  • A rash of flat red spots that may blister on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and sometimes the knees, elbows, buttocks, and/or genital area.

It normally takes 3–6 days after exposure to the virus for signs and symptoms to appear. The infection usually goes away on its own in about a week. Fingernail and toenail loss may occur a few weeks later and these then regrow.

It could be a record-breaking year for HFMD

The West Central Health District, located in Columbus, is warning parents of reports of Hand, Foot and Mouth disease in that area in a public notice.

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Experts there warn it could be a record-breaking year for HFMD, however, which currently affects about 200,000 Americans every year.

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According to the CDC, outbreaks of HFMD are not common in the USA, but a large outbreak is sweeping through the southeastern US and could spread to other regions easily.

The symptoms of the virus are usually mild. However, side effects can be serious, especially in people with weakened immune systems from another illness or from age.