UNC Health is warning of an expected increase in hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) this summer in central North Carolina.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HMFD is a common viral illness caused by different strains of coxsackievirus. It occurs mostly during the summer and early autumn, and it is a short-term infection that occurs most frequently in children younger than 5 years old.

The first signs of HMFD usually are high fever, decreased appetite, sore throat, and feeling tired. Painful blisters in the mouth, and skin rashes (bright red dots, sometimes with clear blisters) can appear on the hands and feet, and sometimes the buttocks.

While there is not specific treatment for HMFD, the illness is usually not serious and most people with the disease get better on their own in 7 to 10 days, according to the CDC.

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