Cases of hand, foot and mouth disease are common during the spring, summer and fall according to the CDC. @Finnerty_Meghan [email protected]
Meghan Finnerty

As kids head back to school, they become more at risk to catch hand, foot and mouth disease, a virus causing sores in the mouth and on the feet and hands.

Cases of hand foot and mouth disease, which is contagious, are most common in the summer and fall, said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesperson LaKia Bryant. The enterovirus called coxsackievirus A16 is the most common cause in the United States.

“We would expect increased circulation now and for the next few months,” she said.

 Here’s what you need to know about the disease. 

What is hand, foot and mouth disease?

HFMD is most common in children younger than 5, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although it can occur in adults. It is often confused with foot-and-mouth disease, a virus that only affects some livestock. 

HFMD is most common in East and Southeast Asian, according to the CDC. 

Symptoms of HFMD

A fever, rash on the hands and feet, sores in the mouth. reduced appetite, and sore throat are all common symptoms of Hand Food Mouth Disease, according to the CDC. A rash may also appear on the knees, elbows, buttocks or genital area. 

A fever lasting 24 to 48 hours is often the first symptom of HFMD, according to the World Health Organization. 

Treating Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease

Because there is no specific treatment for HFMD, the best way to treat it is to treat its symptoms, says the CDC. The organization suggests taking pain reliever or to use a numbing spray for mouth pain.

The CDC warns that pain from mouth sores might make it difficult to drink water. Those with the disease should be monitored for dehydration. 

Preventing the disease

There is currently no vaccine or specific treatment for HFMD, according to the CDC, which means the best cure is not getting the disease at all. 

HFMD is viral and is spread through contact with bodily fluids, including saliva, nose or throat discharges, blister fluid, or feces, according to the CDC. Frequent hand washing and avoiding close contact with an infected person will help prevent HFMD. 

For more information on hand, foot, mouth disease, see the CDC fact sheet

Other back to school tips: How to get free school supplies in Cheatham County

More: Robertson mayor’s Back to School Bash this weekend

Ashley May of USA TODAY contributed to this report. 

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