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Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease: What Parents Need To Know

Katy, Texas – September 20, 2016 
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common viral illness that usually affects infants and children younger than 5 years old. However, it can sometimes occur in adults. Symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease include fever, blister-like sores in the mouth (herpangina) and a skin rash. Hand, foot and mouth disease is often confused with foot-and-mouth disease (also called hoof-and-mouth disease), a disease of cattle, sheep and swine. However, the two diseases are caused by different viruses and are not related.

hfmd

The initial symptoms of Hand, foot and mouth disease include:

  • Fever
  • Poor appetite
  • Malaise (feeling under the weather)
  • Sore throat

Within two days, the symptoms typically include:

  • Painful blisters or ulcers in the mouth
  • Rash that develops on the hands and feet (flat or raised spots or blisters)
  • Rash on the knees, elbows, buttocks and/or genital area

Hand, foot and mouth disease is highly contagious and is spread from person to person. The time period of contagion is the highest during the first week of the illness; however, the disease can stay in the body for weeks after all symptoms are gone and still be spreading the disease. Adults with no symptoms may also be spreading the virus without knowing they have the disease.

A person will come in contact with this disease through bodily fluids, which include:

  • Nose secretions (coughs, sneezes, runny nose)
  • Saliva (coughs, sneezes, drool, mouthing toys)
  • Blister fluids (blisters drain or open up)
  • Feces (during diaper changes, checking diapers, toilet training)

Treatment for hand, foot and mouth disease includes taking over-the-counter medication to relieve pain and fever, such as acetaminophen or using mouthwashes or sprays to numb any mouth pain. However, if you are concerned and/or symptoms worsen, seek medical attention.

Find out more information about hand, foot and mouth disease.

Content Courtesy of Texas Children’s Hospital 

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