Student Health Services
Recently, there have been reports of an outbreak of the viral illness “Hand, Foot, and Mouth” (HFMD) disease on local college campuses and high schools. Hand, foot, and mouth diseased is a contagious viral infection caused by the Coxsackievirus, which causes painful sores on the hands, feet, and mouth. It a commonly occurring illness among younger age groups and is typically seen in daycare settings, although it is not unusual to find it within cohabitating communities.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms are similar to many common viral illness. You may start by feeling like you have a cold, with nonspecific symptoms such as a sore throat and cough. The difference between this disease and a common cold is that there will be lesions that form on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet and inside of the mouth. The diagnosis of Coxsackievirus is made clinically by examining the patient.
How is it spread?
An infected person may spread the viruses that cause HFMD to another person through:
- Close personal contact –sharing drinking, toothbrushes, and straws.
- Airborne through coughing or sneezing
- Contact with contaminated objects and surfaces.
What should I do if I suspect I have Coxsackievirus?
- We are encouraging you to make an appointment with Student Health Services if you think you have HFMD. When calling to schedule an appointment, please be clear about any blisters you have in your mouth, on your feet, or on your hands and any fever or sore throat that you may have.
How is it treated?
- There is no treatment for Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. You should drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and take OTC pain reliever for pain. If you think you have HFMD or have questions, go to the Student Health Services website to schedule an online appointment or call (203) 392-6300.
How do I prevent passing it to others?
- Wash your hands often with warm water and soap.
- Do not share drinks, straws, eating utensils, toothbrushes with anyone.
- Wear shower shoes; do not go barefoot in the shared areas or bathrooms. Stay out of pools and hot tubs.
- Good hygiene: clean up by using a disinfectant cleaner after you use a shared shower or sink.
- If you have open blisters on your hands you should stay home until they are healed.
- How serious is it?
- Painful mouth sores can make it hard to talk or eat. Sores on the hands and feet can make it hard to write, type, or even walk. Sores usually last for about one week. This disease runs its course in as little as 3-5 days for a mild case or up to 7-10 days if severe. As it is viral in nature, no antibiotic will work for this. You need to isolate yourself as much as possible after diagnosis as not to spread it to others. When your doctor gives you the diagnosis, ask for permission to stay away from classrooms and work until symptoms resolve. This is usually not life threatening; you will feel better shortly but you should try not infect others. Keep cleaning your personal spaces and your bathrooms along with your laundry so you don’t get re-infected.
What if the Health Center is closed?
The Student Health Services webpage lists walk-in and urgent care clinics available locally
FLU SEASON IS COMING!
Did you know college students are at an increased risk of getting the flu?? Close living quarters and a lot of social contact make college students more likely to catch the flu. Therefore, the CDC recommends everyone older than 6 mos receive a flu shot. Vaccination is still the best protection and can also help to prevent someone you love from getting sick as well.
There is one more flu clinic coming up, hosted by The Wellness Center:
TUESDAY NOVEMBER 1ST, STUDENT CENTER 11:00 TO 2:00 Free of charge, bring your insurance card!