Hand, foot and mouth disease is a common viral illness in children and is usually mild. That being said, its appearance can still alarm parents and children, and it can cause quite a bit of discomfort.
The most common symptoms of HFMD include:
- High temperature (fever) – Sore throat – Small, blister-like lesions that may occur on the inside of the mouth, sides of the tongue, palms of the hands, fingers, soles of the feet and ‘nappy’ area – Children are often irritable, tired, and may be off their food.
HFMD is spread through:
- Fluid from skin blisters – Nose and throat discharge
- Droplets from coughing/sneezing
Here is an example of the first sign of the blisters – but sometimes children will have the fever/sore throat symptoms before these become visible!
The skin blisters of HFMD are infectious until they become crusty with no fluid. The virus may also be shed in the feces (poo) for several weeks after the blisters resolve.
The best way to avoid the spread of HFMD is good personal hygiene including hand washing and avoiding the sharing of personal utensils and items.
To help relieve the discomfort of HFMD, use paracetamol (not aspirin) as directed.
Offer plenty of fluids, but avoid orange juice, which is acidic and may cause pain with mouth ulcers. Also, always allow blisters to dry naturally and avoid piercing them.
If a child with HFMD complains of severe headache, if fever persists, or if there are any worrying symptoms, consult your local doctor immediately.
Visit Better Health for more information on Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease.