Hand, foot and mouth disease is a relatively common viral illness that usually affects children under the age of five. The disease, which lasts around a week, causes fever-like sores to form on the hand, mouth and feet. Depending on the severity of the disease, sores might also form on the buttocks and legs.
What Causes Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease?
Hand, foot and mouth disease is caused by enterovirus. It’s transmitted by:
- Close personal contact
- Coughing or sneezing
- Contact with feces
- Contact with contaminated objects and surfaces
Most people are only contagious for the first week after contracting the disease, but some can be contagious for weeks after symptoms go away.
What are the Symptoms of HFMD?
Symptoms usually appear about a week after coming in contact with the virus. Common symptoms of HFMD incl ude:
- (Early Symptoms) – Fever, sore throat and poor appetite
- (Later Symptoms) – Two to three days after the initial symptoms appear, painful sores start forming in the back of the mouth. They start as small, red sores and then form into blisters. A skin rash will appear on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet after one or two days. The rash might also appear on the knees, elbows, and buttocks.
There’s no specific treatment for hand, foot, mouth disease, but taking over-the-counter medication can relieve pain.
HFMD is very contagious, so preventing the spread of it can be difficult. To lower your chance of getting the disease, wash hands well, clean areas that have been touched by someone infected by the disease and avoid close contact with others.
Contact The Pediatric Center for information on hand, foot and mouth disease.