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Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

Hand Foot and Mouth Disease


Everything you need to know
about Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

Hand foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common infection that causes ulcers inside or around the mouth, as well as a rash or blisters on the hands, feet, legs, or buttocks in children. It can be uncomfortable, but it isn’t dangerous.

It’s not to be confused with foot-and-mouth disease, which is caused by a separate virus and only affects animals.

Symptoms of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

Early signs and symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Throat irritation
  • Blisters on the interior of a child’s mouth, generally in the rear, or on the tongue.
  • Having a bad day (malaise)
  • Appetite loss.
  • Fatigue
  • Crankiness

A youngster might have these symptoms a day or two later:

  • Blisters form as a result of a rash.
  • Their knees, elbows, and buttocks have flat areas or sores.

Swallowing might be painful due to mouth sores. A child’s illness could be detected only by eating or drinking less than usual. Ascertain that they receive adequate fluids and nourishment.


Your child’s symptoms will be discussed, and any sores or rashes will be examined. This is generally sufficient for them to determine whether it is hand, foot, and mouth disease. However, they may swab your child’s throat or take a faeces or blood sample for lab testing.


Coxsackievirus a16 and enterovirus 71 are the viruses that usually cause the mouth condition –  hand, foot, and mouth disease.

The condition can affect anyone, although it is more common in children under the age of five. In the summer and fall, it has a tendency to spread quickly.


Hand, foot, and mouth diseases have a low risk of serious consequences. Enterovirus 71 is more prone than other HFMD viruses to cause issues.

Among the potential complications are:

  • If mouth sores make swallowing liquids difficult, you may get dehydrated.
  • Membrane swelling around the brain and spinal cord (viral meningitis)
  • Swelling of the brain (encephalitis)
  • The heart muscle swells (myocarditis)
  • Paralysis

When to call a doctor

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is often a small infection with only a few days of fever and moderate signs and symptoms.  Call your doctor if:

  • If your symptoms or those of your child do not improve after 7 to 10 days, consult a doctor.
  • You or your child has a fever, or you or your child feels hot and shaky.
  • You are concerned about your child’s signs and symptoms.
  • Your youngster is dehydrated if they aren’t peeing as frequently as they should be.
  • You catch hand, foot, and mouth illness while pregnant.

Other persons can become infected with hand foot and mouth disease.

Before you leave, make sure to check with your GP, a phone consultation may be suggested, or call 111. They will be able to advise you on what to do next.


Hand, foot, and mouth disease has no cure or vaccine. Antibiotics will not help because it is caused by a virus. After 7 to 10 days, it normally goes away on its own. Meanwhile, you may assist your youngster to feel better by doing the following:

Pain medications such as ibuprofen or paracetamol, as well as numbing mouth sprays, are available over-the-counter. Aspirin should not be used since it can cause serious diseases in youngsters.

Soothe a sore throat with cold delights like ice pops, yoghurt, or smoothies. Juice and soda, which contain acids that might exacerbate sores, should be avoided.

For rashes, use an anti-itch lotion such as calamine.


The first seven days of an illness are the most contagious for your child. The virus, on the other hand, can remain in their bodies for days or weeks and spread through spit or dung. To reduce the risk of infection, do the following steps:

  • After changing a diaper or wiping a child’s nose, wash your hands thoroughly. Assist kids with keeping their hands clean.
  • When children sneeze or cough, teach them to protect their mouth and nose. The best option is to use a tissue, but the sleeve of their shirt will suffice.
  • Surfaces and shared items such as toys and doorknobs should be cleaned and disinfected.
  • If someone has hand, foot, and mouth disease, avoid hugging or kissing them. Don’t let them use your cups or utensils.
  • Wait until your child’s symptoms have subsided before sending them to school or daycare. If you suspect they’re still contagious, consult your doctor.


The viruses that cause HFMD can be found in a person’s bodily fluids, including:

  • Saliva
  • It could be mucus from their nose or lungs.
  • Blisters or scabs’ fluid
  • Poop

The following are some of the ways that hand, foot, and mouth disease spreads:

  • Sneezing or coughing
  • Kissing, embracing, sharing cups, and sharing utensils are all examples of close touch.
  • When changing a diaper, you may come into contact with excrement.
  • Virus-infected surfaces should not be touched.


The majority of people with hand foot and mouth disease have a good prognosis. The majority of patients recover in a few weeks with no long-term consequences. The infection rarely recurs or lingers after the acute illness lasts 10 to 14 days.