HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES DEPARTMENT 1000 Commonwealth Avenue Newton, MA 02459 City of Newton
September 14, 2018
Dear parent or guardian:
A student at Newton North High School has hand, foot, and mouth disease.
Please take these precautions.
- Watch your child and family members for signs of hand, foot, and mouth disease.
- If you think your child may have hand, foot, and mouth disease, call your health care provider for instructions.
- Tell us if your child has hand, foot, and mouth disease.
Information about hand, foot, and mouth disease
What is it? Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common illness of infants and young children, most commonly caused by a virus called coxsackievirus. Symptoms include mild fever, poor appetite, and a sore throat. One or 2 days after the fever begins, tiny blisters develop in the mouth. A skin rash also develops over 1–2 days with flat or raised red spots, some with blisters. The rash is not itchy and is usually found on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Illness is usually mild and most people get better in 7–10 days.
How do you catch hand, foot, and mouth disease? It is spread when the virus from stool or saliva gets on hands or objects and then onto other people’s hands and into mouths. A person is most contagious during the first week of the illness, but they still can have the virus for many weeks, especially in their stool. People usually get sick 3 to 7 days after being exposed to the virus.
How is hand, foot, and mouth disease diagnosed? Health care providers can tell if people have hand, foot, and mouth disease by their symptoms. A laboratory test can be done on the throat or stool to know for sure but since the testing often takes 2–4 weeks to obtain a final answer, these tests are usually not ordered.
How is hand, foot, and mouth disease treated? There is no specific treatment for hand, foot, and mouth disease but your health care provider may suggest treatment to relieve some symptoms.
How do you stop the spread of hand, foot, and mouth disease?
- Always wash your hands with soap and running water after using the toilet, changing a diaper, helping a child use the toilet, and before touching food or eating. Also wash your hands after wiping or blowing noses or after touching nose, throat, or eye secretions. Babies and children need their hands washed at these times, too.
- Encourage your child not to share food, drinks, or utensils at school.
When can your child return? A child with hand, foot, and mouth disease can return to school as soon as he/she feels well enough to attend.
Please contact school nurses Maureen Pursley, RN or Theresa Staulo, RN with questions.