With the first semester well underway, flu-season has set in as usual, but Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) has also affected the campus community campus. LMU Student Health Services (SHS) sent a health advisory to all students warning of a HFMD outbreak among “several students" on Oct. 24.
HFMD, according to SHS, is a “viral infection that usually causes mild illness.” Those with the disease can expect a recovery anywhere from seven to 10 days. Symptoms range from fever, red spots on cheeks, gums and tongue, and a rash with possible blisters, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (CDPH). The disease is spread through close contact with bodily fluids either directly or on a surface, according to the Los Angeles CDPH.
Cindy Nakasuji, a nurse practitioner at SHS, dealt with the current cases at LMU. Her advice to prevent contracting HFMD is to keep up personal hygiene as you would normally. “Typically we see this infection in children in daycare centers... it is really hard to get children to wash their hands... but with adults it's a little easier,” said Nakasuji.
She is not worried about the spread of HFMD on campus. “Even in terms of cases that we’ve seen I think [HFMD] is less and less. It’s not like it's increasing in number... I think we’re confident that it should be under control,” said Nakasuji.
Her best advice to students is good hand washing habits and to remember to cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze. She also recommends cleaning surfaces and taking precautions when doing so. HFMD can live on surfaces for a long period of time according to the CDPH.