Diseases & Conditions

Hand-Foot-Mouth-and-Disease: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

picture of Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease
Written by David

What is hand-foot-and-mouth disease?

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is an illness that causes sores in or on the mouth and on the hands, feet, and sometimes the buttocks and legs. The sores may be painful. The illness usually doesn’t last more than a week or so.

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is common in children but can also occur in adults. It can occur at any time of year but is most common in the summer and fall.

It is not the same as other diseases that have similar names: foot-and-mouth disease (sometimes called hoof-and-mouth disease) or mad cow disease. These diseases almost always occur in animals.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a contagious viral illness that commonly affects infants and children. Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a human syndrome caused by intestinal viruses of the Picornaviridae family. Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease including causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. Hand, foot and mouth disease is usually a short mild illness that mainly affects children.

Most children fully recover within a week. Hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD) is a viral infection that causes sores in the mouth and on the hands, feet, and sometimes the buttocks. Hand, foot and mouth disease is very common, and usually is a mild illness.

It is not related to the disease of a similar name that affects cattle. Hand-foot-and-mouth disease. Hand, foot and mouth disease is generally a mild illness caused by viruses called coxsackievirus or enterovirus. Here’s yet another reason to encourage kids to wash their hands: it can help prevent the spread of hand, foot, and mouth (HFM) disease.

Hand, Foot and Mouth is a common infection among young children. We provide helpful articles and advice about the signs and symptoms. Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common viral infection in children. Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a viral infection that usually affects babies and children. Hand, Foot and Mouth is a viral illness that causes fever, painful blisters in the throat and mouth, and sometimes on the hands, feet and the bottom. 

Signs and Symptoms of Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease

HFM causes painful blisters in the throat, and on the tongue, gums, hard palate, or inside the cheeks. Blisters are red with a small bubble of fluid on top. They often peel, leaving an ulcer, which is a sore with a reddish base. The soles of the feet and the palms of the hands may have a rash that can look like flat red spots or red blisters.

Occasionally, a pink rash may be seen on other parts of the body, such as the buttocks and thighs. However, some kids will have no problems other than sores in the back of the throat.

It can be hard for parents to tell if a child (especially a very young one) has HFM disease if sores are only inside the mouth or throat. Very young kids might not be able to communicate that they have a sore throat, but if a child stops eating or drinking, or wants to eat or drink less often, it’s a sign that something is wrong.

A child with HFM also might:

  • have a fever, muscle aches, or other flu-like symptoms
  • become irritable or sleep more than usual
  • begin drooling (due to painful swallowing)
  • only want to drink cold fluids

Causes of Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease

The most common cause of hand-foot-and-mouth disease is infection with the coxsackievirus A16. The coxsackievirus belongs to a group of viruses called nonpolio enteroviruses. Other types of enteroviruses sometimes cause hand-foot-and-mouth disease.

Oral ingestion is the main source of coxsackievirus infection and hand-foot-and-mouth disease. The illness spreads by person-to-person contact with an infected person’s:

  • Nasal secretions or throat discharge
  • Saliva
  • Fluid from blisters
  • Stool
  • Respiratory droplets sprayed into the air after a cough or sneeze

Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease Treatment

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease should go away on its own after 7 to10 days. There is no treatment for the illness and no vaccine. You can ease your child’s symptoms with:

• Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen  or acetaminophen or numbing mouth sprays. Don’t use aspirin for pain it can cause serious illness in children.

• Cold treats like Popsicles, yogurt, or smoothies soothe a sore throat.

• Anti-itch lotion, like calamine, can help against rashes.

About the author

David

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