Students get short surge of HFMD

By Gabriela Flis

Rider students approaching the student health center in Poyda Hall. An outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease recently spread throughout campus.

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) has found its way to Rider, and it’s quickly spreading around campus. 

“HFMD is a very common virus that typically affects young children this time of the year but can affect adults,” said Elizabeth Luciano, director of student health services. “In the college setting, it is easy for viruses like HFMD to spread with the close contact that students have.” 

Percautions were also taken in the campus dining hall. 

“There are people in Daly’s [who] are passing out flyers and they’re wearing gloves,” Jordan Griffin, a freshman graphic design major, said. “I’ve been washing my hands over ten times a day, I’m pretty scared.” 

Many students are nervous about the current outbreak, but Rider is taking proper precautions to let students know how to protect themselves. 

On Sept. 18, Rider sent out a campus-wide email with general information about the disease and sudden outbreak.

“We want to make the University community aware that there are several confirmed student cases of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) at Rider University. Given the contagious nature of HFMD, there is potential that you’ve been exposed,” the statment said. 

 The email also specified a variety of strategies students living on campus could use to minimize their chances of getting infected. This includes disinfecting surfaces that are touched often, avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

Mike Ricchione, a sophomore sports media major, is one of the students who had been infected on campus. When he first started getting symptoms, HFMD was not the first thing that came to mind. 

“I didn’t exactly think I had HFMD,” he said. “I was starting to get a bad rash so I went to the Student Health Center. They told me [it was HFMD] and that I was the sixth case.” 

HFMD typically lasts one week, with symptoms that come in stages. These include a fever, sore throat, feeling unwell, painful sores in the mouth and blisters on the feet and hands. Many of these symptoms can easily be confused with a budding cold. 

“On Sunday, I noticed a spot on my left pinkie,” said Ricchione. “Monday, it got worse and I knew I needed to see a nurse or a doctor. When I went on Tuesday, I was told this was a viral infection and it would go away on its own. I was given an antihistamine to help with the itch and then I was told I could use the Ibuprofen I had to help with the pain.” 

Ricchione said the nurses at the health center made him feel well- treated and taken care of.  

“[The nurse] told me it’s supposed to last a week and so far, it’s looking to hold true,” Ricchione said. “On Thursday, I was told I was no longer contagious. Ever since Wednesday night, my skin has become clearer and clearer, and it no longer hurts when I walk. I’m going back to classes on Monday.” 

According to Luciano, HFMD prevention tips can also be used to prevent other viruses, including the flu, from spreading around campus.   

“The best way to protect yourself from HFMD and any virus is to: avoid close contact with people that are sick, stay home when you are sick, cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze, wash your hands with soap and water, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth without clean hands and practice other good health habits,” said Luciano. 

If anyone feels they have symptoms of HFMD, they should go to the Health Center immedediatly. 

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