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Hand, foot and mouth disease spreading in Tampa

Posted: 7:17 AM, Sep 29, 2015
Updated: 2015-09-29 07:17:43-04

Anyone that interacts with young children needs to be on the lookout for signs of hand, foot and mouth disease.

Doctors are seeing it all over Tampa Bay and right now it’s spreading in daycare facilities.

It’s yet another reason to teach your kids to wash their hands often.

Young kids often catch the contagious illness from diaper changing areas or toys that have been drooled on.

The symptoms are easy to spot.

Doctor Cindy Wood White with Pediatric Healthcare Alliance has seen a dozen cases every week for the past month.

“They get lesions in their mouth, a skin rash on their hands and feet,” said White.  

White says parents claim their kids got it at daycare.

“As far as kids are concerned the rash doesn't bother them at all, it doesn't itch, it doesn't hurt. But the ulcers are very painful,” said White.

It usually takes about a week for the disease to run its course, treated with over the counter medicine like Tylenol to ease the pain.

To keep kids from getting sick, The Florida Department of Children and Families inspects daycare facilities three times a year. Making sure everything from the equipment to the staff’s hands are sanitized properly.

And if there is an outbreak, the health department will step in.

“We see a lot of calls on GI issues, rash issues. Right now we are getting a lot of calls on hand, foot and mouth disease,” said spokesperson Steve Huard.

The quicker they get the call, Huard says, the fewer kids get sick.

“More hand washing on the children and the staff, more cleaning of the toys at the end of the day or play sessions, separating children who may be ill,” said Huard.

Since school just started, doctors believe we will be seeing more of the disease. Relief may come during the holidays when kids are out of daycare and school.

If you are concerned your child may be at risk, the latest inspection reports are here: http://sanswrite.hillsboroughcounty.org/Public/ProviderSearch.aspx