Contagious disease affects children in Eau Claire - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Contagious disease affects children in Eau Claire

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - A disease is spreading through Wisconsin, and it's arrived in Eau Claire with a bullseye on kids.

"Hand, foot and mouth disease is a virus that most often occurs in children under the age of 10," says Jill Bauer, a public health nurse for the Eau Claire County Health Department.  

Cases of the summer/fall disease are rising across Wisconsin and hitting daycares in Eau Claire.

"We've seen it when there's been sores in their mouth and it can be very difficult for them to eat or swallow or drink," says Cassi Stoeklen, owner of The Learning Tree Child Care Center.  

"Symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease usually begin with a sore throat, with a mild fever. Later, you will see small blisters in the mouth usually along the cheek, or the gum line, or the side of the mouth they will appear, and later you will see blisters on the hands and feet," says Bauer.  

The disease can spread pretty quickly, especially when children are playing together.

"And, toys are really famous around here. So, one kid has it one minute, and then another kid, and another kid, and another kid, and so if a case breaks out, we do extra sanitizing," says Stoeklen.  

Bauer says, "Really the best prevention, as will any illness, is washing your hands."

The disease is treated mostly through measures of comfort.

"Medications to bring the fever down, hydration, rest are the best treatments because it is a virus and just needs to run its course," says Bauer.  

And since it is very contagious, it's best to keep the child isolated from others.  The disease can last for up to 10 days and symptoms don't usually appear until three to six days after exposure, making it hard to keep kids clear of the disease.

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