By Beth Christian Broschart
The Parsons Advocate
PARSONS – There have been several cases of hand, foot and mouth disease in Tucker County and Health Department Officials have shared information on what the disease is, how it is spread, what the symptoms of the disease are, what to do to help avoid the disease and what to do if you contract hand, foot and mouth disease.
Tucker County Health Department Director James Snyder confirmed there have been several cases of the disease in the county.
“We are not alone in this,” Snyder. “I know for sure in our region, Jefferson and Berkeley counties have outbreaks of hand, foot and mouth disease and perhaps others throughout the state.”
Snyder said hand, foot and mouth disease is a virus that starts with fever, loss of appetite, sore throat and generally not feeling well.
“After a couple of days with a fever, usually painful sores develop,” Snyder said. “These begin in the back of the mouth and spread around. Sometimes the sores appear on their hands and feet – that’s how it got the name hand, foot and mouth disease.”
There is no vaccine for this disease and there is no specific treatment once someone contracts the disease.
“People usually just treat the symptoms. They take over-the-counter medication for pain and fever relief. Some people have recommended using mouthwash to numb the mouth pain,” he said.
Snyder said there are usually no health complications with hand, foot and mouth disease.
“It is a virus so it will pass. However, we always recommend if people are concerned with the symptoms they should contact their health care provider.”
“We are not seeing this in every school, but in schools where we are seeing hand, foot and mouth disease we are taking extra precautions. We have talked with the Tucker County Board of Education and the maintenance staff and they have stepped up the amount of cleaning they are doing in between classes and after classes. The school nurse has been working very diligently trying to identify cases and have those children go home until they are well.”
Snyder said they are making sure children wash their hands. He said they sent letters and made phone call stressing good hand washing, no sharing of drinks and avoiding close contact such as hugging.
“One of the most complications with hand, foot and mouth disease is dehydration because the blisters are so painful,” Snyder said. “That is usual with any virus. We always tell people to drink lots of liquids. The water is crucial to fighting off the virus.”
One thing Snyder wanted people to realize was the word ‘outbreak’ of a disease should not scare people.
“It triggers panic, but when we go back to the medical definition of an outbreak, it means three or more cases in one population – such as a school,” he said. “The reason we look at it so closely, is if there are three or more cases, we want to get in there and take preventative measures to keep it from spreading.”
Snyder said if someone in your house gets hand, foot and mouth disease it is imperative to make sure common surfaces are cleaned including phones, toilet flush handles, soap dispensers, door handles, light switches, faucets and other common places disease can spread are often overlooked.
The Tucker County Health Department is located in Parsons beside of the VA Clinic and the Tucker County Senior Center. They are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Additional information is available by calling 304-478-3572.