Health experts warn of hand, foot, and mouth disease as splash-pads reopen

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EDINBURG, Texas (KVEO) — With the splash-pads reopening in the Rio Grande Valley, health experts are reminding parents of a common disease seen in children.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is one of the main things pediatrician Dr. Cristel Escalona wants to prevent kids from catching this summer.

“It spreads through other infected persons through their saliva, so we see outbreaks a lot in daycares or just situations where a lot of kids are together,” said Dr. Escalona. 

Dr. Escalona adds that even if parents have an inkling, their child could be sick. The number one rule is to keep them home for their safety and others.

She explains those situations can take place at splash pads. 

“If a child spits at another child, and they have infected saliva, there’s a possibility or likelihood that those oral secretions could reach another child and spread it,” said Dr. Escalona. “Those ulcers spread out so kids, especially if you have little kids that drool, wherever the infected saliva hits get little circular lesions exactly where the saliva hits.”

Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Edinburg, Javier Garza, said with all of the city’s splash parks opened back up they’re confident the water is safe for kids. 

“Our splash pads have a top-of-the-line filtration system that kills 99 percent of our germs and bacteria. It’s a chemical and A.V. light filtration,” said Garza. 

Mother of two, Anna Hanks, said she is not worried about her kids because they take a bath at night after they go to the splash pad or the pool.

If parents believe their child has contracted the disease, Dr. Escalona recommends they are taken to the doctor to get evaluated.

“We usually give them things like Tylenol and ibuprofen to keep the pain down as well and little by little offer things that are nice and cold. The kind of soothes the ulcers or numbs him to encourage them to eat,” said Dr. Escalona. 

If parents think their child is sick, play it safe and stay home. She added it is important to remember the disease doesn’t have an age limit.

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