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Hand, foot and mouth disease, it is as unpleasant as it sounds. 

Donna Alden-Bugden, a nurse practitioner in Winnipeg says she has seen quite a few cases of the childhood rash in recent days.

handfootandmouth3"The viral infection is common under the age of 10, and even more so under the age of 5. Most adults are immune, but it still can happen in adults as well," explained Alden-Bugden.

Last week, New York Mets pitcher, Noah Syndergaard contracted the virus, and on Tuesday, newly acquired Yankees left-hander J.A. Happ was also diagnosed.

Hand Foot and Mouth Disease most often spreads where large groups of children gather, leaving many sick and with a red blistery rash on their hands, feet and mouth, for more than a week. It is also most common in the spring and summer months.

Leading up to the rash, symptoms include a very high fever, sore throat, lack of appetite and irritability.

"Those symptoms go away quite quickly and children feel well, except for the blotchy red blister-like rash," said Alden-Bugden. " It takes 7-10 days for the rash to disappear. A child is contagious until the rash is scabbed over and the fever is gone."

Alden-Bugden encourages parents who are certain that their child has hand, foot and mouth disease to stay home.

"It is highly contagious and there are some people that are very susceptible to it. Their immune system is down and they can end up with encephalitis, viral meningitis, or pneumonia. It is not common, but it can be in people who have a low immune system," said Alden-Bugden.

There are many ways to prevent the spread of the viral infection including thorough hand washing, sneezing/coughing into a sleeve, not sharing utensils or food and cleaning areas of a home where an infected person has been.

If the rash does not disappear and a child is still unwell after a week, they are encouraged to seek the attention of a health care provider immediately.

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