From: All Students on campus <>
Sent: Friday, October 12, 2018 7:42 AM
To: All Students on campus
Subject: Public Health Advisory - Hand/Foot/Mouth disease


There have been several cases of hand-foot and mouth disease here on the Wesleyan campus this fall.  I would like to send out some information on this infection to the campus community in a FAQ format.


  1. What is Hand-Foot-Mouth disease?  This is a viral illness that is most common in the summer and early fall.  It is very common among children (especially in day care centers) but anyone including adults can get this.  It is caused mostly by a virus called Coxsackie (strain A16) but can also be caused less commonly by other Coxsackie strains and other viruses.  The disease is characterized by cold like symptoms, including a sore throat, possibly fever followed by the outbreak of painful and small blisters on the hands, feet and mouth.  These lesions could appear elsewhere on the body in some cases.


  1. How is this spread?  Person to person contact by the following:  (a)  Respiratory tract; direct contact with the infected persons saliva, or by the spread of the virus with coughing and sneezing.  (b) Direct contact with the blisters. (c) Fecal contact as the virus is shed in the stool.  This is one of the reasons these infections spread so quickly among children in day care.


  1. What are the specific symptoms?  Cold like symptoms: fever, sore throat, fatigue followed by the appearance of the rash on the inner cheeks, gums, sides of the tongue, hands, feet and other areas of the body.  This rash can last for 7-10 days. 


  1. When is a person contagious?  They are most contagious during the early acute phase when they start to feel sick.  As time goes on, the infectivity decreases but can last for several weeks after the onset of the disease.


  1. Is there a treatment that can cure this?  Unfortunately no.  Antibiotics are not effective against viruses.  There are no anti-viral medications that will cure this.  There is no vaccination for this.  The good news is that our immune system will take care of this with most people feeling better in 1-2 weeks.


  1. What can I do to not spread this?


  1. Hand washing, hand washing, hand washing.  One of the best ways to prevent infections disease spread.
  2. Cover mouth and nose with cough and sneeze.  (Use the crook of your elbow)
  3. If you work in a daycare, nursery or school with young children, consider staying home.  Check with your particular workplace regarding their policy.
  4. Avoid body to body contact with people while you have lesions.
  5. Disinfect any surfaces (counter tops, toys) that may have been exposed


  1. What can I do to help the symptoms?


  1. For pain (sometimes these lesions are very painful) one may take Tylenol (Acetaminophen) and/or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) at the recommended doses.
  2. For itching associated with these lesions, one may take Diphenhydramine (Benedryl).  Be cautious as this can cause sedation.
  3. Throat lozenges, gargling with salt water or commercial mouthwashes
  4. Rest and adequate nutrition/hydration.  One is well hydrated if their urine is of a normal amount and clear or light yellow in color.
  5. Eat soft, non-spicy foods that don’t irritate your mouth.
  6. Contact your medical provider if you have any questions.



Tom McLarney MD

Medical Director

Davison Health Center

Wesleyan University

327 High Street

Middletown, CT 06459


Fax: 860-685-2471