What Is Hand Foot and Mouth Disease?
Hand Foot and Mouth Disease, also known as Foot and Mouth disease, is a viral disease that has been identified as the most common infectious disease. There is a vaccine to prevent the disease, but many people have had bad reactions from the vaccine so they continue to be infected with the disease. The most common symptoms are food allergies, nasal discharge, stomach aches, and breathing difficulties.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that while we all know about chickenpox, smallpox, and mumps, the disease called “Hand Foot and Mouth” is not generally recognized as a contagious disease. When an individual contract the disease, it is not contagious until two weeks after the first symptom is noticed. Many persons have other illnesses such as pneumonia, heart disease, diabetes, pneumonia, cancer, and other serious conditions. In addition, some children have severe respiratory infections and may be in need of intensive care.
The disease can be spread easily through coughing or sneezing. In addition, the disease is easily spread from person to person through the air. Some individuals who cannot cough or sneeze often enough to infect others may contract the disease through the consumption of contaminated food. People who suffer from the virus may also spread the virus by sharing towels or cloths.
People who work as food handlers at slaughterhouses, laboratories, and other food processing plants are at high risk for contracting the disease. They are exposed to the disease by contact with the animal carcasses. Other food handlers may be at risk for infection if they touch the contaminated meat products.
Children are at the highest risk for this disease. Children are at a much higher risk of contracting the disease because they are not likely to develop immunity to the virus. The risk for developing immunity decreases as one gets older. This is also true for adults. Adults are at risk because they are at high risk for infection.
Health officials have identified the regions where the disease is commonly found in the United States as areas of the country where hand foot and mouth are common. These areas include the Southeast, North Central and Northwest areas, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, and Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado.
In addition, Hand Foot and Mouth disease is prevalent in countries with lower incomes such as low income countries and Haiti. However, the disease is more prevalent in poor countries where most of the population does not have access to clean water, proper hygiene, proper nutrition, and poor health care facilities.
There is no known cure for the disease and there is no known cause or source of the infection. Experts suspect that the disease is transmitted by droplets that get into the nose or mouth. There is no way to prevent the disease, but doctors believe that you can reduce your risk of contracting the disease by being aware of your exposure to the virus and taking precautions to protect yourself and your family.
Preventing yourself from contracting the disease is not difficult. The virus will only spread if an infected person touches an infected object or person. If an individual contract the disease, the virus can be transmitted through the air and on contact with droplets or body secretions from an infected person.
When a person is diagnosed with Hand Foot and Mouth disease, he or she may experience flu-like symptoms and be observed by a doctor for several days. Although these symptoms are a sign of sickness, there is no specific test to diagnose the disease. It is important to see a doctor immediately when a person has a fever, a rash, or any other symptoms. It is very important to note that a lot of people do not have serious complications from the disease although it can be painful and lead to malnutrition if not treated quickly. Children, pregnant women, and small or elderly adults should avoid handling the disease infected meat. Pets and other animals should be kept away from the infected meat as well.
A healthy balance of bacteria is found in the nose and mouth. Individuals who have taken antibiotics should also refrain from touching infected items such as utensils, plates, knives, forks, counters, plates, cups, and other food handling utensils. Because of the poor sanitation in these areas, organisms which might be harmless to humans can be transmitted to people and animals through objects used to prepare food.