Going Viral: Coxsackie Hits Campus During Flu Season


Source: webmd.com

Amajla Tricic, News Editor

The Student Wellness Center recently sent an email to students and faculty that a small number of students have contracted Coxsackie Disease, also known as hand, foot and mouth disease, on the Utica College campus.

The disease is a common viral illness that usually affects infants and children younger than 5 years old. However, it can occur in adults, and the symptoms vary for those who contract it.

Terri Sherman, director and nurse practitioner at the Student Wellness Center, explained preventing the illness can be as simple as washing hands often with soap and water, disinfecting dirty surfaces and soiled items with mild clorox solution and avoiding close contact such as kissing or sharing eating utensils.

“Signs of symptoms can be nothing, or it can start with a fever, reduced appetite, sore throat and a feeling of not being well,” Sherman explained. “Painful sores in the mouth can develop and then rashes can develop on the palms of the hands, as well as feet, knees, elbows and the buttocks area. Sometimes they are small red dots or they are more blistery.”

Sherman added that because Coxsackie disease is often seen in children under five, adults who carry it can sometimes have no symptoms, causing someone to unknowingly carry the disease and spread it to other people. This makes it more common to spread when proper measures are not being taken.

“The problem with Coxsackie is not only can you spread the virus while you’re sick but you can continue to spread the virus for 3-4 weeks after your symptoms go away, but you’re still spreading the virus to other people,” she said. “The other problem with the virus is the adult population. You usually see the disease in daycares and schools. Adults are not as sick with it and sometimes do not even know they have it. Everyone is different with symptoms and this is why it is such a difficult disease to prevent.”

Sherman wants to make sure students also realize the difference between the hand, foot and mouth disease that is often confused with Foot-and-Mouth Disease.

“They are not the same thing,” Sherman said. “Hand-and-Foot is caused by a different virus and happens in the animal population. We can’t spread it between each other.”

When it comes to prevention of the disease and any other common colds, some students are taking extra steps to prevent sickness during flu season.

Jannet Nuhanovic, a nursing major at UC, keeps hand sanitizer with her at all times.

“I always make sure to get my flu shot, and I wash my hands throughout the day,” she said. “I also drink green tea before bed every night.

When she does find herself noticing symptoms of a cold, she chooses to rest and stay in bed to avoid getting people around her sick.

“I immediately take a fever reducer, and if I have a sore throat or stuffy nose, I’ll take pseudoephedrine and a cough suppressant,” she said.

Jasmine Pena, a senior, keeps things more traditional when she is sick.

“I drink homemade tea and chicken noodle soup, and I’ll always stay home when I’m sick,” she said. “My mom will tell me to drink ginger and onion tea during the flu season with some honey, and I find that it really helps, but when I need something extra I’ll use a chloraseptic for my sore throat.”

To prevent sickness, Pena tries to eat healthy and hydrated and avoid people who might be fighting a sickness.

Amanda Rossi, a junior, says her number one tip is to stay away from children and always eat food that is good for her.

“Whether I’m sick or not, I think it helps when I move around and I’m active,” Rosi said. “It prevents me from getting sick, and it also makes me feel better when I am sick.”