A common childhood disease has been steadily on the rise, blasting through schools and infecting kids across the country. Unfortunately, it’s resistant to treatment. Doctors are warning parents to watch out.

You may have heard of Hand Foot and Mouth disease, an infection of the enterovirus. You might not know that cases of the disease are increasing across the country. HFMD is highly contagious and spreads through contact.

Kids can pick it up if they come into contact with saliva or mucus. All it takes is for one infected child to sneeze and touch a desk, or for one to wipe his nose and hold hands with a friend. Even a kiss can pass on the disease. It takes about 3-6 days before symptoms start showing, so a child can have it for up to almost a week, continuing to transmit it without even realizing it.

HFMD doesn’t only affect children. Adults can get it, too, and the elderly or people with weak immune systems are particularly at risk.

They symptoms are flu-like, but there’s a telltale sign that a sore throat and fever might be HFMD: itchy red spots. That’s where the disease gets its name. The spots show up on hands, feet and mouth.

Antibiotics don’t help HFMD, and it can take up to two weeks to clear up. Because it’s so contagious, if you or your children do get HFMD, staying home and avoiding others is essential. If you suspect HFMD, go to a doctor and get checked out – side effects can be serious.

The best medicine here is preventative, though; so, wash hands well and teach kids how to keep a respectable distance.

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