Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD)
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common viral illness that usually affects infants and children younger than 5 years old. Symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease include fever, blister-like sores in the mouth (herpangina), and a skin rash.
Cause: Viral (Enterovirus group), most common Coxsackievirus A16, Enterovirus 71 etc.
Signs & Symptoms:
- usually starts with a fever, poor appetite, a vague feeling of being unwell (malaise), and sore throat.
- 1 or 2 days after fever starts, painful sores develop in the mouth (herpangina). They begin as small red spots that blister and that often become ulcers. The sores are often in the back of the mouth.
- A skin rash develops over 1 to 2 days. The rash has flat or raised red spots, sometimes with blisters. The rash is usually on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet; it may also appear on the knees, elbows, buttocks or genital area.
- Young children, may get dehydrated if they are not able to swallow enough liquids because of painful mouth sores.
- Persons infected with the viruses that cause hand, foot, and mouth disease may not get all the symptoms of the disease. They may only get mouth sores or skin rash.
Clinical diagnosis, no investigation needed. Depending on how severe the symptoms are, samples from the throat or stool may be collected and sent to a laboratory to test for the virus.
The viruses that cause hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) can be found in an infected person’s:
- nose and throat secretions (such as saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus),
- blister fluid, and
- feces (stool).
An infected person may spread the viruses that cause hand, foot, and mouth disease through:
- close personal contact,
- the air (through coughing or sneezing),
- contact with feces,
- contaminated objects and surfaces.
This is why people should always try to maintain good hygiene (e.g. handwashing) so they can minimize their chance of spreading or getting infections.
You should stay home while you are sick with hand, foot, and mouth disease. Talk with your child specialist if you are not sure when you should return to school. The same applies to children returning to daycare.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is not transmitted to or from pets or other animals.
There is no vaccine to protect against the viruses that cause hand, foot, and mouth disease.
A person can lower their risk of being infected by
- Washing hands often with soap and water, especially after changing diapers and using the toilet.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and soiled items, including toys.
- Avoiding close contact such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups with people with hand, foot, and mouth disease.
If a person has mouth sores, it might be painful to swallow. However, drinking liquids is important to stay hydrated. If a person cannot swallow enough liquids, these may need to be given through an IV in their vein.
There is no specific treatment for hand, foot and mouth disease. However, some things can be done to relieve symptoms, such as
- To relieve pain and fever: Crocin
- Using mouthwashes or sprays that numb mouth pain
Parents who are concerned about their children symptoms should contact their child specialist/ Pediatrician.
Health complications from hand, foot, and mouth disease are not common.
For further reading you can go to the below mentioned link.
Stay healthy and prevent infections
Dr. Rahul Varma