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Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

The infection is known as hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is highly contagious. The coxsackievirus, a member of the Enterovirus genus, is the most common cause.

These viruses can be transmitted from person to person through unwashed hands or feces-contaminated surfaces. It can also be spread by coming into contact with an infected person’s saliva, stool, or respiratory secretions.

Infants and children are the most affected ones. The blister-like rash is usually mild and disappears within two weeks on its own. Comfort-care therapies include over-the-counter pain medications and prescription mouthwash. Following proper hygiene practices helps in ensuring other people are healthy and virus-free.

What is Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease?

The blister-like rash that develops on the hands, feet, and mouth is known as hand, foot, and mouth illness. The rash can arise on the trunk, extremities, genitals, and buttocks, and other places on the body. A virus causes this highly contagious sickness.

Who Might get HFMD?

Hand, foot, and mouth illnesses are most common in infants and children under five. It is still possible for older children and even adults to get it. It has a high rate of spread among children in daycare and schools.

How Long is HFMD Disease Contagious?

You are the most contagious during the first few days of the illness before the rash begins. In most cases, blisters heal in around ten days. Once the blisters have dried up, you’re less likely to distribute them to others. On the other hand, the virus can survive in the stool for weeks after the rash has faded.

Is HFMD the same as Foot-and-Mouth Disease?

A foot-and-mouth disease which is also known as a hoof-and-mouth disease only affects livestock. Humans are immune to it, but cows, sheep, goats, and pigs are not. HFMD and Foot-and-Mouth are both diseases caused by different viruses.

How is HFMD diagnosed?

A physical exam is generally enough for a doctor to diagnose HFMD. They will look for blisters and rashes in the mouth and on the body. Other symptoms will be discussed with you or your child by the doctor.

The doctor may take a swab of your throat or a sample of your stool to test for the virus. Doctors will be able to confirm the diagnosis as a result of this.

What Causes HFMD? How does it spread?

The enterovirus family of viruses causes hand, foot, and mouth disease. A strain of the Coxsackie virus is likely to blame. The condition is extremely contagious, and it spreads:

·        When an infected person sneezes or coughs, airborne droplets are released.

·      Touching your lips, eyes, or nose after coming into contact with an infected person’s stool (poop).

·        Coming into contact with an infected person’s blisters.

·        Kissing or hugging a virus-infected person.

·        Sharing eating utensils, drinks, towels, and clothing is not a good idea.

·  Touching your eyes, nose, or mouth after touching contaminated toys, surfaces, doorknobs, or other items.

What are the Symptoms of HFMD?

Hand, foot, and mouth disease symptoms usually occur three to seven days after infection. You or your child may experience a minor fever, sore throat, runny nose, and a lack of appetite when the disease first begins. These flu-like symptoms fade away after a few days, and new symptoms emerge:

·      An itchy rash on the palms of the hands, the genitals, the knees, elbows, the soles of the feet, or the butt cheeks.

·        Sores in the mouth that hurt.

·        Neck lymph nodes that are swollen.

How is HFMD treated?

In most situations, the infection will go away on its own in 7 to 10 days without treatment. However, until the disease has run its course, your doctor may offer specific therapies to ease symptoms. These can include the following:

·  Topical ointments (prescription or over-the-counter) to soothe blisters and rashes.

·        To treat headaches, take painkillers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

·        Painful sore throats might be eased with medicinal syrups or lozenges.

Children should not be given aspirin to treat viral illnesses because it can cause Reye’s syndrome in children.

HFMD symptoms can also be relieved with some at-home treatments. To make blisters less irritating, you might try the following home remedies:

·        Suck on popsicles or ice.

·        Ice cream or sherbet are good choices.

·        Cold beverages should be consumed.

·        Citrus fruits, fruit drinks, and soda should all be avoided.

·        Foods that are salty or spicy should be avoided.

 Mouth blisters and throat sores can sometimes be relieved by swishing warm seawater around in the mouth. Repeat as needed, up to multiple times each day.

What are the Complications of HFMD?

Hand, foot, and mouth disease complications are rare. Occasionally, these problems occur:


Drinking and eating can be difficult if you have mouth sores. To avoid dehydration, it’s critical to drink plenty of water.

Nail Loss

After contracting the virus, some patients lose a few fingernails or toenails. The nails will regrow.

Viral Meningitis and Encephalitis

Meningitis and encephalitis are rare symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease. These rare conditions induce severe brain swelling (encephalitis) and swelling of the spinal cord membranes (meningitis).

How does HFMD affect Pregnancy?

Pregnant women are rarely affected by the illness. Still, if you are expecting and exposed to the virus, you should talk to your doctor.

How can I Prevent HFMD?

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease can be prevented by taking the following precautions:

Wash Hands Carefully

Hands should be washed regularly and thoroughly, particularly after using the bathroom or changing a diaper and before preparing and consuming food. Use hand wipes or gels prepared with germ-killing alcohol when soap and water are not accessible.

Disinfect Common Areas

Cleaning high-traffic areas and surfaces with soap and water first, then with diluted chlorine bleach and water solution. Because the virus can survive on shared goods like toys for days, child care centers should keep a strict schedule for cleaning and disinfecting all common spaces, including shared items like toys. Clean your baby’s pacifiers regularly.

Teach Good Hygiene

Teach your children how to keep themselves clean and maintain proper hygiene. Explain why they should avoid putting their fingers, hands, or any other objects in their mouths.

Isolate Contagious People

Because HFMD is highly contagious, those who are ill should limit their contact with others while their symptoms are active. Children with HFMD should be kept out of child care or school until their fever has dropped and their mouth sores have healed. Stay home from work if you have an illness.

What to expect if my child or I get HFMD?

While hand, foot, and mouth disease are unpleasant, it rarely results in long-term complications. With minimum treatment, most children and adults recover in less than two weeks.

When Should I Call the Doctor?

If you or your kid experience any of the following symptoms, you should contact your doctor.

·       Drinking insufficient amounts of water to stay hydrated.

·        Fever for more than three days.

·        After ten days, it doesn’t appear to be getting any better.

·        Itching or blistering is severe.

What Questions Should I ask From doctor?

If you or your child has hand, foot, and mouth disease, you should consult your doctor about the following:

·   What is the maximum amount of time my child should be absent from school?

·    How long should I stay at home instead of going to work?

·    Should I report the infection to my child’s school (or my workplace)?

· What can I do to prevent other members of my family from becoming infected?

·    What can I do to make my child or myself more at ease?

·    What can I do to get rid of symptoms like a rash that itches or mouth pain?

·    What is the expected duration of the rash?

·      Is it possible for the infection to make a comeback?

·     What can I do to prevent getting hand, foot, and mouth disease again?

    Hand, foot, and mouth disease symptoms are usually mild and go away in less than two weeks with minimum therapy. Because the virus is highly contagious, it’s critical to maintain proper hygiene and take precautions to avoid spreading it to others. Your doctor can offer symptom alleviation suggestions and advice on how to keep others healthy and virus-free. 

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