Cases of hand, foot, and mouth disease on the rise, local doctor says

Local doctors are warning parents about an uptick in hand, foot, and mouth disease spreading among children -- and adults.

The contagious disease is popping up just before kids are set to go back to school.

Action News Jax Courtney Cole spoke to a local doctor who shares the best ways you can protect yourself against it.

Doctors in several states are reporting cases of hand, foot & mouth disease.

It’s a contagious and painful illness usually seen in kids under the age of 10.

"It’s picked up easily in day care centers especially,” said Dr. Trachella Johnson Foy, a family physician for Baptist Health.

Now doctors in Jacksonville want to warn parents about it.

"Of course, with us getting back to school —the elementary school children are going to be at a high risk,” Dr. Foy told Action News Jax.

Dr. Foy says it's most commonly caused by a virus.

"It’s usually composed of a fever, rash that can develop in the mouth with blisters or sores on the hands and the foot.”

Foy says it usually only lasts for three to five days.

“It’s easily spread, so the way we try to prevent children from passing it to each other is making sure we do good hand-washing,” Dr. Foy said.

Dr. Foy says it’s also important to make sure you’re covering your mouth when you’re coughing and sneezing.

One mother who told us she has her 6-year-old son taking these steps to prevent him from catching it -- or any other illness.

"I make sure he washes his hands, he don’t share drinks and stuff with people. Or like he just don’t need to be trying to cough on people. He knows to cover his mouth all the time,” said Tiffani Allen.

Dr. Foy told Action News Jax Courtney Cole she’s heard about the uptick in cases in the United States as well as some in our area.

“I know that some of my colleagues have reported seeing a few more cases of it, but we haven’t seen as much in our office.”

Right now, Action News Jax is working to find out how many cases of hand, foot & mouth have been reported to local hospitals this year.