FACT SHEET

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common viral illness that usually affects infants and children younger than 5 years old. However, it can sometimes occur in adults. Symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease include fever, blister-like sores in the mouth (herpangina), and a skin rash.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is caused by viruses that belong to the Enterovirus genus (group). This group of viruses includes polioviruses, coxsackieviruses, echoviruses, and enteroviruses.

Symptoms

Hand, foot, and mouth disease usually starts with a fever, poor appetite, a vague feeling of being unwell (malaise), and sore throat. One or 2 days after fever starts, painful sores usually 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.

Some people, especially 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 the mouth sore or skin rash.

Transmission

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is spread from person to person by direct contact with the infectious viruses that cause this disease. These viruses are found in the nose and throat secretions (such as saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus), fluid in blisters, and stool of infected persons. The viruses may be spread when infected persons touch objects and surfaces that are then touched by others.

Prevention

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:

 

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.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for hand, foot and mouth disease. However, some things can be done to relieve symptoms, such as:

 

Persons who are concerned about their symptoms should contact their health care provider.

Things parents can do

 

Your child may return to school or day care 5 days after treatment has been given, or when drooling has stopped.

For more information, please visit The Centre for Disease Control website at http://www.cdc.gov/hand-foot-mouth/about/index.html.

Thank you




Find us on Facebook!