MLB pitchers battle through virus, highlighting spike in local cases

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HUNTINGTON -

Health officials say they're seeing a spike in hand, foot and mouth disease — also known as HFMD or Coxsackievirus — on Long Island as summer heat drives residents into pools.

The virus' name comes from the parts of the body it impacts. Along with a fever, sores can appear on a person's hands and feet and inside their mouth.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the virus usually affects children under the age of 5. But adults can also get it.

Two high-profile cases recently grabbed headlines in New York. Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard and Yankees pitcher J.A. Happ both fell ill.

Audrey Caracappa, a baby girl in Deer Park, also came down with the illness. She's OK now, according to her mom, Michelle Caracappa. But she had a rash for a few days.

"She really didn't want to eat," Caracappa says. "She really didn't want to drink. Pretty painful for a little one to go through."

Doctors say the illness is more common this time of year.

"It is a summertime virus, because usually it is transmitted through contact," says Dr. Sara Siddiqui, of NYU Langone Huntington Medical Group. "And swimming pools, camps, hot tubs — those are usually the areas that can get contaminated."

Dr. Siddiqui says patients are most contagious before they develop the rash. Which means they may not be aware they're sick until after they help spread it.

MORE: CDC information on Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

The CDC says the steps of prevention are simple: Wash your hands, keep frequently touched areas clean and avoid close contact with anyone who has HFMD.Treatment typically includes over-the-counter pain relievers and sprays designed to numb the mouth and throat. The virus can last between three and five days.

READ: Additional coverage on health topics

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