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Health Alert: Small number of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease cases on campus

September 08, 2014

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Dear Community Members,

Our Student Health Service and Health Promotion staff are committed to helping members of our community be safe and healthy.  Every year we see an increase in illness as the academic year gets underway.  This year is no different.  We have had reports of a small number of cases of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) on campus recently and wanted you to be aware of the facts around this disease.

About HFMD

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common viral illness that usually affects infants and children younger than five years old. However, it can sometimes occur in adults. Symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease include fever and blister-like sores typically on the hands and feet and in the mouth.   The illness generally lasts from seven to ten days.

Transmission

The viruses that cause (HFMD) can be found in an infected person’s:

  • nose and throat secretions (such as saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus),
  • blister fluid, and
  • feces (stool).

An infected person may spread the viruses that cause hand, foot, and mouth disease through:

  • close personal contact,
  • the air (through coughing or sneezing),
  • contact with feces,
  • contaminated objects and surfaces.

For example, you might get infected by kissing someone who has hand, foot, and mouth disease or by touching a doorknob that has viruses on it then touching your eyes, mouth or nose.

Prevention

We would like to remind everyone that taking a few simple steps will decrease the likelihood of getting sick. 

  • Wash hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. 
  • Avoid close contact such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils, cups, water bottles or food with people who are infected.
  • Stay at home and see your health care provider if you are sick.  Students may be seen at the Student Health Service  (call 503 768-7165 for an appointment) or contact your health provider for care.  Lewis & Clark faculty are asked to please offer flexibility with attendance as students may be absent from classes.

Student Health staff have also been working collaboratively with the College’s housekeeping service to ensure that housekeeping staff are disinfecting surfaces as best they can.  Even so, the best prevention is for all individuals to follow the above steps. 

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for hand, foot and mouth disease. Symptoms tend to resolve on their own.  However, some things can be done to relieve symptoms, such as:

  • Taking over-the-counter medications to relieve pain and fever
  • Using mouthwashes or sprays that numb mouth pain

Persons who are concerned about their symptoms should contact the Student Health Service 503 768-7165 or their health care provider. 

More information

 The CDC’s article on HFMD

 

For more information:

Student Health Service