Cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease Pop Up in Vermont

My Champlain Valley – by Sara McCloskey

Doctors say Hand, Foot and Mouth disease is as common as the common cold, a sickness that can spread fast if you don’t have good hygiene.  

Little kids always seem to have something in their hands or mouth, covered with germs.

“It’s how they learn, how they learn what to put in their mouth, what not to put in their mouth. The way things feel,” Chelsea Jewett,  Assistant Director at the Creative Hands Learning Center, said.

But sometimes putting toys in their mouth – after another child had it – is the way kids get sick.

“Their hygiene practices are a little bit different,” Dr. Kristen Connolly, from Timberlane Pediatrics in Milton, said. “So in the beginning when kids are exploring a lot with their mouths or when they’re not washing their hands as frequently or they’re just sharing germs a lot more.”

Dr. Connolly says that’s the reason why kids usually catch Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.

The illness causes painful blisters on hands, feet and in the mouth, transmitted by saliva, coughing or sneezing. Sometimes it is also transmitted through stool and legions also show up around the buttock.

“Fever is a good marker of when it will generally be more contagious. It’s also typically more contagious when kids have the more active legions,” Dr. Connolly said.

Doctors say the best way to prevent Hands, Foot and Mouth is simply by regularly washing your hands and cleaning surfaces. Once again, there’s no antibiotics for the illness. It’ll usually just go away over the course of a week.

Dr. Connolly has seen an increase in the illness over the past month, but it typically pops up in the summer and when school starts. Officials from Pediatric Medicine in South Burlington say they have had a few cases recently, but saw an increase at the beginning on the school year.

Teachers at Creative Hands Learning Center in Milton say Hand, Foot and Mouth is pretty common. None of their preschoolers have had the illness, but this time last year 2 kids caught it.

“It’s a pretty gross thing you can’t really do anything for. Like, there’s no antibiotics,” Chelsea Jewett said.

Creative Hands, like many preschools, has policies for cleaning and for when kids get sick.

Jewett says her teachers are always in and out of the dirty toy bin, picking up after the kids.

“To always be cleaning the toys, and taking the toys that are mouthed so another child doesn’t pick it up and put it in their mouth,” Jewett said.

Cleaning and sanitizing constantly, steps to make sure the little ones don’t get sick.

2 thoughts on “Cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease Pop Up in Vermont

  1. As I recall, the first reported cases began during the first Presidential Debate. It’s a national epidemic, that’s only going to get worse over the next four years. To Keep America Safe Again, the CDC should quarantine everyone who attended the debates.

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