Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease Increasing in Bay County

The Bay County Health Department is reporting an uptick in hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD), with more than 20 cases recorded during this early fall season.

The department encourages parents, caregivers, daycares, and schools to recognize the signs and symptoms, to understand how to protect themselves, and to take steps to prevent spreading the disease to others. Hand, foot, and mouth disease is common in children under 5 years old, but anyone can get it. The illness is usually not serious, but it is highly contagious. It is spread from an infected person to others by close personal contact; coughing and sneezing; contact with feces (including recreational water contaminated with feces); and contact with contaminated objects and surfaces.

Symptoms usually begin 3-7 days after becoming infected. Early symptoms include fever, sore throat, reduced appetite, and feeling unwell. A few days later, painful sores may develop in the mouth and a skin rash with red spots (sometimes with blisters) may develop on the palms of hands, soles of the feet, knees, elbows, and buttocks. An infected person might experience only some of these symptoms, and some people, especially adults, might have no symptoms at all. Persons diagnosed or suspected to have HFMD should stay at home if fever persists and if any open sores cannot be covered. Doing so will help control current HFMD outbreaks and prevent future spread.

For questions or more information, call (989) 895-4009.