Officials urge caution as hand, foot and mouth disease resurfaces in the Midwest

Doctors are encouraging children to wash their hands and refrain from sharing beverages as hand, foot and mouth disease has re-emerged in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, reported.

The rash takes form as spots or bumps on the hands or feet, or lesions of the mouth, but signs can appear elsewhere on the body, doctors say.

While the disease is commonly confused with foot-and-mouth disease— which affects cattle, sheep and swine— the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that the human and animal diseases are not related.

Additional symptoms of the human illness include  fever and a sore throat.

“The most serious problem is that if the child's throat is so sore that they don't want to swallow, there's a risk of dehydration,” Renee Slade, a pediatrician at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center, told My Fox Chicago.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is not a reportable disease, making it difficult for doctors to track. The disease is most common in children ages 7 and younger. According to Slade, instances of the disease do not appear to be any more widespread than last year.

Parents who believe their children are at risk are urged to keep them home for at least 24 hours after their child’s fever has subsided. The illness typically runs its course in two or three days, but cases have been know to last for up to eight days.

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