Sun, sand…and a side of germs seem to be washing summer illnesses ashore faster than high tide in a hurricane.
This summer season has offered little reprieve to families, who, for three years, have navigated the emotionally-draining and physically-trying roller coaster of the COVID pandemic, flu season, stomach bugs and a slew of respiratory ailments.
“What we’re seeing a lot of is adenovirus, strep (throat) and Hand, Foot and Mouth (Disease),” affirmed Suresh Nagappan, MD, the medical director for Cone Health’s children’s unit and UNC Medical School campus in Greensboro.
Nagappan, also a father of two, joined the Good Morning Show to elaborate on the slew of summer sicknesses pediatricians across the country are reporting this summer.
The CDC has declared Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) an endemic in Asia, and Nagappan can attest, firsthand, to its high contagion across central North Carolina.
“Hand, Foot and Mouth is very, very common. (In) kids under five, we see it all the time. What we want to look for, as parents, is bumps, blisters on your hands or feet – it can be sort of a reddish color — and bumps and blisters in the mouth. You can have a fever with it. Oftentimes, kids are fussy, and oftentimes they don’t want to eat or drink because those sores hurt,” he explained.
Because HFMD is a virus, there is no antibiotic pediatricians prescribe. While pain relievers (if children are of age to take them) can provide some relief, Nagappan emphasized the key to healing is hydration.
“One tip I did with my kids is I use a straw, because if they’ve got those sores in the front of the mouth, you get that liquid behind it with the straw,” he said.
Nagappan said while adults can catch the virus, it is uncommon, and the virus spreads more commonly through saliva than surfaces.