Few cases of flu; HFM, strep showing up

Published 2:24 am Saturday, November 14, 2015

Health care providers say they are seeing a few cases of flu, strep throat, and hand, foot and mouth disease. However, the number of illnesses is still low.

Andalusia Elementary School nurse Kristy Martin said there have only been a few cases so far.

“Nothing epidemic,” she said.

At Covington Pediatrics, Dr. Gabrielle Baldwin said she wouldn’t even classify the cases she’s seen as a large outbreak.

“We typically start seeing hand, foot and mouth (HFM) disease in the spring, and it will linger through the warmer months,” she said. “As we have not had any really cold weather yet we are still seeing cases on a regular basis. It is highly contagious and is transmitted through saliva and secretions from the blisters.”

HFM is a viral infection of the skin and oral cavity that can present with fever, blistering rash to hands, feet, peri-oral area, and perineum as well as oral ulcerations, Dr. Baldwin said.

“The best treatment is supportive – treat fever and pain with Tylenol or Motrin, and push fluids,” she said. “The infection will clear spontaneously usually within seven to 10 days.”

Dr. Baldwin said “strep throat” can present with a number of symptoms, including sore throat, fever, nausea and vomiting, rash, and headache.

“Any or all symptoms may be present,” she said. “This infection is treated with an oral antibiotic. t is transmitted through saliva, as well. Avoid eating and drinking after other people and wash hands frequently.”

While there have been a few positive flu tests in the community, Dr. Baldwin said she’s only seen one positive flu test at Covington Pediatrics.

“We are also starting to see some cases of RSV in babies and toddlers,” she said.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this disease.