Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) can occur at any time of the year, but it spreads more easily when children return to school or attend daycare. If your young ones are affected by this infection, Vital Urgent Care is here to provide assistance.

What is Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease? Hand, foot and mouth disease is a viral infection that primarily affects young children, although adults can also contract it. It is characterized by a rash of small red dots on the hands and feet, as well as sores in the mouth and sometimes the diaper area. The virus is commonly transmitted through sneezing, coughing, or saliva, making it prevalent in settings where children are in close proximity, such as daycares and schools.

While this contagious virus is generally not serious, its symptoms can be unpleasant. Although there is no specific treatment for HFMD, over-the-counter and prescribed medications can help alleviate symptoms.

Symptoms of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

The symptoms of HFMD may vary in severity and can include:

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sore throat
  • Mouth sores
  • Rash and/or blisters

Symptoms usually begin with a fever, followed by the appearance of sores on the tongue, cheeks, gums, and a rash typically found on the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands.

Since mouth sores can be painful and make swallowing difficult, it is important to prevent dehydration, especially in children under the age of 3. It should be noted that some children with HFMD may exhibit few or no symptoms, yet still be able to transmit the virus to others.

Medical professionals can diagnose HFMD through observation, a detailed medical history, and a physical examination. In some cases, they may collect samples for laboratory testing, as sores or red spots can be caused by other diseases besides HFMD.

Treatment for Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease HFMD does not require any specific treatment, as antibiotics are ineffective against viral illnesses. The good news is that the virus is self-limiting, and the fever and rash should subside within seven to ten days. However, there are measures that can be taken to alleviate the unpleasant symptoms in the meantime:

  • Over-the-counter medication can be used to relieve fever and pain. It is advisable to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new medication.
  • Over-the-counter medications are also available to help alleviate mouth pain. Caution should be exercised when administering these medications to children due to potential side effects and difficulty of application.
  • Adequate hydration is important. Popsicles can help hydrate children and may also provide relief for a sore mouth.
  • Sufficient rest is essential.

Prevention of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease Simple hygiene practices can significantly reduce the risk of HFMD:

  • Regular handwashing is crucial for both prevention and treatment. Thoroughly wash your hands and your child's hands frequently, especially after eating, drinking, coughing, or sneezing, using soap and warm water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Disinfect toys, play areas, and bathrooms regularly, and increase the frequency of cleaning if your child or other children are diagnosed with HFMD.
  • Avoid close contact, such as sharing utensils, toys, or hugging and kissing, with individuals who have HFMD. If your child has HFMD, it is important for them to stay home until their fever subsides to prevent spreading the infection to other children at school or daycare.

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