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Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease: Contagious continued...

Prevention. Frequent hand washing helps prevent the spread of hand, foot, and mouth disease. Your child should also avoid close contact or sharing food or utensils with other kids. If an infected child has been to your house, wash toys and household surfaces that may harbor the germs. Then disinfect them, using 1 tablespoon of bleach to 4 cups of water.

Treatment. There is no specific treatment for hand, foot, and mouth disease. Since it's caused by a virus, antibiotics aren't called for. But there are things you can do to help ease your child's symptoms. Give acetaminophen for pain and fever. Your doctor may recommend using analgesic mouthwashes and sprays to numb painful mouth sores. If you are concerned about your child's symptoms, call the doctor.

Pinkeye: Contagious

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is an irritation of the eye and lining of the eyelid. Symptoms may include itching, burning, redness, increased tearing or discharge, sensitivity to light, and crusting on the lids or lashes.

How it spreads. Viruses, bacteria, allergens, or irritants can cause pinkeye. When a virus or bacteria is the cause, children can catch it easily by touching a contaminated surface and then touching their eyes.

Prevention. To protect your children and yourself, wash hands frequently with soap and warm water. When soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Do not allow children to share towels, pillows, washcloths, or other items with someone who is infected. If you or someone else in your home has pinkeye, wash pillowcases, sheets, washcloths, and towels in hot water and detergent to avoid spreading it.

Treatment. Mild conjunctivitis often gets better on its own. Artificial tears and cold packs can help relieve dryness and inflammation. If your child has eye pain, fever, vision problems, headache or intense redness, or she is not better within a couple of days, call her doctor. She may need prescription medication.

Stomach Flu: Contagious

"Stomach flu" isn't actually the flu ( influenza) but gastroenteritis, an upset stomach usually caused by a virus. Symptoms may include cramps, diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. They can also include a rash. They usually improve within a few days.

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