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Fighting Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - A disease that is sweeping across the nation is being seen more in eastern Iowa. Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is making its way through the corridor, and it has doctors, parents and daycare facilities all scrambling to fight back.

The first problem is that it affects mostly young children.

Symptoms can be pretty nasty, meaning big blistery sores around the mouth, hands and feet on young children can give parents a scare.

Step one at any daycare facility is keeping young kids, who touch everything in sight, from passing along more than just hugs.

 "We work really, really, really, really hard to keep them from catching whatever is going around," said Calvary Christian Preschool and Daycare Director Susan Buckingham.

But still, even her facility had about eight infants get Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.

"Knowing that I can't keep all the kids from getting it, that is very difficult," said Buckingham.

"The palms and soles are common where you get the lesions and they're little just, sore little lesions like you get here and they can be tender to touch," said Unity Point Clinic Physician Dr. Leslie Greenlee as she pointed to pictures of the disease in a textbook.

Dr. Greenlee says those lesions can hurt enough around the mouth to turn a kid that empties the refrigerator into one that can barely eat.

"If their mouth hurts because they have a lot of sores in there, it can cause them to eat or drink less and that can cause dehydration," said Dr. Greenlee.

The first problem is that it's a virus, so there's basically not treatment for it.

"In that first day or two is when they're very highly contagious and so keeping them away from other kids is best in those first couple of days," said Dr. Greenlee.

The next problem is that kids are contagious so early, they may not show symptoms yet.

For Susan, there's really only one option left.

"Clean. Clean and clean and clean."

Doctors say symptoms are only present for two or three days before going away.
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