Hand, foot, and mouth disease hits Chicago area - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Hand, foot, and mouth disease hits Chicago area

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Hand, foot and mouth disease sounds like a made up disease, but, as many parents who are dealing with it right now will tell you, it's all too real.

Doctors like Tina Tan from Lurie Children's Hospital say the hand, foot and mouth virus is making its way through the Chicago area.

For some who aren't familiar with it, the name alone can cause concern.

"I think the title is a lot scarier than what it is," mother Kristin Petersen says.

Petersen, mom to almost 2-year-old Mack, has dealt with the virus in her son twice.

"To me, it was like dealing with a bad sinus infection or an ear infection, she explains. "When you know they're just not happy and they're in some pain and you want them to be better."

Dr. Tan says children under 4 years old are at highest risk of catching the virus.

"You will have outbreaks occurring in daycare settings, preschool settings, in households, so it can even spread to people in the household that are over 4 years of age as well as in some school settings," Dr. Tan explains.

Symptoms may seem like any virus at first, but the difference becomes apparent in just a few days.

"Most common symptoms are fever that are associated with a very classic rash," she continues. "So, you'll get these blisters that form on the inside of the front portion of your mouth associated with a blister like rash on your hands, primarily on the palms as well as on the soles of your feet."

For parents, the "not knowing" part is what is so hard.

"I think what's really difficult is you really don't know what's going on with them," says Petersen. "I think him took two doctors' visits. Both times he just got really irritable, he just wasn't himself, he was crying, he wasn't sleeping and when he spiked with that high fever it was sort of that hint that it might be what we had thought."

Doctors say give your children Tylenol or Motrin for the pain and fever and look into Benadryl or Maalox to coat the inside of the child's mouth.

Always consult your pediatrician before taking any medication. Most children recover on their own in 2-3 week and despite what some may think, it can be spread to adults, so be cautious.

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