Virus hits area schools
Cases of HFM confirmed
By Holly Neumann
There have been confirmed cases of hand, foot and mouth (HFM) within the Iola-Scandinavia School District, according to school nurse Stephanie Fuhs.
Other districts reporting cases of HFM include Manawa and Weyauwega-Fremont.
“HFM is a common viral illness,” said Fuhs. “Symptoms include tiny blisters in the mouth, hands and feet.”
She noted that other symptoms are similar to the common cold and may include fever, sore throat, runny nose, body aches and a cough.
“The virus is spread through contact with discharges from the nose, throat, fluid filled blisters and the infected person’s feces,” Fuhs said.
Persons with the illness should rest, drink plenty of fluids and take medications to relieve the pain associated with the blisters and to reduce fevers.
Students who are infected should remain home from school until the fever is subsided and sores are no longer draining.
To lower the risk of being infected, hand washing after using the bathroom and before eating is recommended.
“Sanitizing wipes are available to all teachers and classrooms as needed,” said Fuhs. “The district has also done deeper cleaning of classrooms, with emphasis on doorknobs, desk tops and bathroom facilities.”
There are no concerns regarding people coming in or out of the schools or its facilities.
“We have made parents, guardians aware of the presence of it in the district, which is the responsible thing to do,” she said.
Currently, less than 2 percent of the student population at Iola-Scandinavia is affected.
“Disease surveillance and follow up is a regular part of what school nurses do here for the Waupaca School District and across the state. Hand, foot and mouth certainly seems to be a topic of concern over the last few weeks,” according to Jamie Trzebiatowski, a nurse with the Waupaca School District.
“Thankfully, hand, foot and mouth is usually self-limiting and rarely requires exclusion from athletics or school,” Trzebiatowski said. “Unfortunately, it can be quite contagious and make children uncomfortable for a few days, especially very young children.”
Trzebiatowski said there are typically cases every year between late summer and early fall.
“The increased attention this year seems to stem from the older population that is getting it across the country, high school and college age,” she said.