It is late spring/early summer and I’ve been fielding daily calls about an illness going around daycares and preschools. The bug is Coxsackie Virus, which causes “Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease” or “Herpangina” (if it’s limited to just the mouth). It’s a miserable illness that all parents should know about, since you’re likely to be affected by it at some point.
Top 10 Coxsackie virus highlights (or more appropriately deemed low-lights):
- It’s a relatively benign disease (rarely do kids have serious complications from it).
- It causes a seriously sore throat that typically looks like little canker sores on the very back of the throat.
- Complications happen when kids do not want to eat or drink and they get dehydrated.
- Other symptoms include: headache, fever, and overall feeling crummy.
- It usually affects little kids (usually older kids and grown-ups have already had it and consequently develop immunity to it).
- It’s possible to get it multiple times, but most people only get it once.
- There is no cure. Antibiotics do NOT help.
- Treatment is all supportive (meaning keep the child hydrated and as comfortable as possible). Things like cold popsicles and Motrin can really help.
- The peak/worst of the illness happens about day 3 and lasts about a week.
- It is very contagious.
What it looks like (the pic)
Thanks so my cute patient who let me snap a pic of his affected hand. While the one sore on the knuckle of his index finger looks the most impressive (it’s a pustule), that isn’t the most typical looking lesion. The little grouping of vesicles (tiny little blisters) further down the finger (toward the nail) are more in line with typical lesions in the beginning. As the illness progresses, the spots look more like the red spots at the base of his index finger (kind of flat and dark red). The spots will often be on the palm side of the hands and soles of the feet.
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