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Hand foot and mouth disease, how contagious? A co-worker was diagnosed yesterday. She recieved release from her doctor to come back to work tomorrow, if she wore gloves. Her symptoms started appearing on the 1st. Are we at risk if she returns to work?

1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Laura McMullen
Pediatrics

In brief: Hand,

Hand, foot and mouth is caused by the coxsackie virus and is often seen in children under 5 years of age, though it can be seen in adults.
It is spread by direct contact between people by body secretions containing the virus such as saliva, nasal mucus, blister fluid and stool. The virus can also be spread by the infected person touching an object and then someone else touching that object soon after. The virus is most contagious in the first week of illness, though they can continue to shed virus for weeks, even when they feel better. The best ways to prevent infection is to practice frequent handwashing, disinfect dirty surfaces, and to avoid close contact with the person who is sick such as kissing, hugging or sharing eating utensils. The gloves may help if she has blisters on her hands. This will minimize the risk of anyone getting infected. The good news is that even though there are a few different coxsackie virus types that cause hand, foot and mouth, type a16 by far is the most common. By adulthood, most people have been exposed to type a16 and are immune. That's why we only usually see it in kids. I've attached a helpful website from the center for disease control below.

In brief: Hand,

Hand, foot and mouth is caused by the coxsackie virus and is often seen in children under 5 years of age, though it can be seen in adults.
It is spread by direct contact between people by body secretions containing the virus such as saliva, nasal mucus, blister fluid and stool. The virus can also be spread by the infected person touching an object and then someone else touching that object soon after. The virus is most contagious in the first week of illness, though they can continue to shed virus for weeks, even when they feel better. The best ways to prevent infection is to practice frequent handwashing, disinfect dirty surfaces, and to avoid close contact with the person who is sick such as kissing, hugging or sharing eating utensils. The gloves may help if she has blisters on her hands. This will minimize the risk of anyone getting infected. The good news is that even though there are a few different coxsackie virus types that cause hand, foot and mouth, type a16 by far is the most common. By adulthood, most people have been exposed to type a16 and are immune. That's why we only usually see it in kids. I've attached a helpful website from the center for disease control below.
Dr. Laura McMullen
Dr. Laura McMullen
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