Ask Avera: What is hand, foot and mouth disease?

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(KSFY) - Lots of little ones are coming down with colds and fevers this time of the year -- hand, foot and mouth disease is no exception.

Pediatrician Dr. Kara Bruning is one of our Ask Avera experts. She’s been seeing patients with hands, foot and mouth year-round.

“Hand, foot and mouth is a virus. It can cause lesions in your mouth and it can be on your hands or feet. It can also be on your bottom, as well. It can be really painful for the kiddos. They run high fevers with it,” Dr. Bruning.

Dr. Bruning says it’s easy for children with hand, foot and mouth to become dehydrated.

“The reason kiddos get in trouble with this is because their mouth hurts so they won’t drink. So if they get dehydrated, that’s a problem. As long as you can keep your child drinking and hydrated, you’re going to be okay,” said Dr. Bruning.

If you are concerned, Dr. Bruning says it’s always okay to have your child checked out by their doctor.

Unfortunately it’s a virus and I can’t fix it, but we can help get them drinking so hopefully they can stay out of the hospital.

The American Academy of Pediatrics states children can go back to daycare or school after they’re fever-free for 24 hours.

“The biggest thing is to keep them hydrated and keep them drinking. Sometimes straws can be really good because you can direct it where you want it to go, past their lesions. And if their diaper area is affected, put a really good thick layer of diaper cream just because that can be really sore,” said Dr. Bruning.

You can lower your little one’s risk of getting infected by making sure they’re washing their hands often, disinfecting dirty surfaces and avoiding close contact with infected people.

If you have a question for one of our Ask Avera experts, e-mail