Coxsackievirus lives in the human digestive tract and is easily spread from person to person via unwashed hands or surfaces. Because coxsackievirus outbreaks most commonly occur in the summer and fall, now is the perfect time to educate yourself and your children on how to prevent it.
What is Coxsackievirus?
Back to school is an exciting time for most kids. But as a parent, you may find yourself worried about your child’s health as they reenter the world of shared pencils, shared desks, and shared germs.
Although it’s possible for adults and older children to contract coxsackievirus, it usually affects young children who have not built up an immunity yet.
Coxsackievirus, widely known as hand-foot-and-mouth disease, is a type of enterovirus. Other enteroviruses include myocarditis, herpangina and pleurodynia. In most cases, symptoms of coxsackievirus resolve within a week or two and pose no serious threat to a child’s health.
Symptoms of coxsackievirus include:
- Joint pain
- Sore throat
How is Coxsackievirus Spread?
Coxsackievirus is spread when an individual makes direct contact with an infected person’s:
- Throat discharge or nasal secretions
- Respiratory droplets (from coughing or sneezing)
- Blister fluid
A child may contract coxsackievirus through contact with another child who has coxsackievirus or through touching unsanitized surfaces that an infected child has touched.
Preventing the Spread of Coxsackievirus
According to Mayo Clinic, “Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is most common in children in child care settings because of frequent diaper changes and potty training, and because little children often put their hands in their mouths.”
Fortunately, practicing good hygiene and sanitizing shared spaces is usually enough to prevent the spread of coxsackievirus. Therefore, it is important to teach children, childcare workers and teachers the importance of frequent handwashing, especially after using the bathroom.
When to See a Medical Professional
As mentioned, most cases of coxsackievirus are mild and the symptoms can be minimized by:
- Getting plenty of rest
- Drinking plenty of fluids
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol or ibuprofen
In rare cases, however, coxsackievirus can lead to severe medical problems, including viral meningitis and encephalitis.
If your child’s symptoms last longer than a few days, or if they complain of severe headaches, take them to a medical professional immediately.
At FastMed Urgent Care, we are dedicated to providing quality healthcare that is prompt, convenient, and compassionate. This is why FastMed is open seven days a week with extended evening and weekend hours..
If your child is showing symptoms of coxsackievirus, bring them to your neighborhood FastMed! We are ready to help, and our clinics include on-site laboratory testing capabilities, so we can quickly diagnose what is wrong and treat you and your child quickly.
Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hand-foot-and-mouth-disease/basics/causes