Three days before Christmas, I was diagnosed with the Coxsackie virus — better known as hand, foot, and mouth disease. “We don’t often see it in adults,” said the doctor at the walk-in clinic at the Mid-Hudson Medical Center in Poughkeepsie. “It’s a toddler disease.” I was going for the laugh (and got it) when I said, “Well, I’m very immature,” but the troubling symptoms — right before a busy holiday — were no joke. I showed up at the clinic with a bizarre rash on my hands that was starting to become painful. “Did you have a fever two days ago?” asked the doc. Yes. “Did you have a really bad sore throat a few days before that?” Why yes, I did. He told me that was classic Coxsackie and that I should expect a rash and sores on my hands, feet, and in my mouth. Sure enough, over the next 24 hours, my feet and hands became covered with painful red spots and my toes swelled so badly that I could hardly bear to wear slippers, let alone untied sneakers. On Christmas Eve, I finally gave in and took the prescribed steroids to reduce the symptoms; after all, Santa was coming and I couldn’t let him see me like that.
I probably caught the virus from my two year old, who I now believe was misdiagnosed with impetigo the previous week. The good news is that it cleared up quickly, I didn’t get many mouth sores, and if I had to have a painful condition at least it is one named after a Hudson Valley town (Coxsackie is in Greene County). It also provided some amusement for my coworkers, one of whom couldn’t stop asking if I still had “hoof and mouth disease.” (For the record, the two conditions are not related.)
But the best part is the great treatment I received at the walk-in clinic. It’s the second time I’ve been there (the first was to remove an oddly embedded tick a month earlier), and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience either time. The clinic is an attractive, spanking-new facility, the staff was friendly and efficient, and they took my health insurance without any hassle. This month we write about the rise of urgent health care clinics in our Ultimate Health Guide. We also fill you in on great new workouts, adult vaccinations, superfoods, and so much more.
Also in this issue is our Parents’ Guide. Whether your little one is a toddler or a teen, you’ll want to check out this special package. We tackle serious subjects — like how to combat cyber-bullying — as well as lighter fare (be sure to see our list of perfect Valley places to host a birthday party). We also report on a few cool playgrounds — a matter of urgent importance in our house. I had forgotten how much fun swinging and sliding can be.
Olivia J. Abel
Editor In Chief