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Hand Foot and Mouth Disease – Symptoms, Causes, and More

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Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease—a mild, contagious viral infection common in young children—is characterised by mouth sores and a rash on the hands and feet. Coxsackievirus is the most common cause of hand, foot, and mouth disease. There is no precise treatment for hand, foot, and mouth disease. Frequent handwashing and avoiding close interaction with people with hand, foot, and mouth disease can help reduce your child’s risk of catching it.



Hand, foot, and mouth disease may cause all or just some of these signs and symptoms. For example:

  • Fever
  • Throat pain
  • A feeling of general malaise
  • Painful, red, blister-like abrasions on the tongue, gums, and inner cheeks
  • A red, non-itchy, but sometimes blistering rash on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and sometimes the buttocks
  • Irritability in infants and young children
  • Loss of appetite

The usual period from the initial infection to the onset of signs and symptoms (incubation period) is three to six days. Fever is frequently the first sign of it, followed by a sore throat and occasionally poor appetite and general malaise.

A day or two after the fever starts, painful sores may appear in the front of the mouth or the throat. A skin rash on the hands, feet, and possibly the buttocks may follow a day or two later.

Sores in the back of the mouth and throat could suggest that your child has been infected with a viral illness known as herpangina. Other features of herpangina are sudden high fever and, in some cases, seizures. It is infrequent for sores to appear on the hands, feet, or other parts of the body.


The most communal cause of hand, foot, and mouth disease is infection with the Coxsackie virus A16. Coxsackie virus belongs to the group of non-polio enteroviruses. Other types of enteroviruses sometimes cause hand, foot, and mouth diseases.

Oral ingestion is the primary source of infection with the Coxsackie virus and hand, foot, and mouth disease. The disease diffuses by contact with the infected person through the following:

  • Nasal and throat secretions
  • Saliva
  • blister liquid
  • Stool
  • Respiratory droplets spread through the air after coughing or sneezing

Common in Nurseries

Hand, foot, and mouth diseases are more common in children in childcare settings because of frequent diaper changes and toilet training and because young children often put their hands in their mouths.

Although your child is most contagious during the first week of it, the virus can remain in the body for several weeks after the signs and symptoms of the disease have disappeared. It means that your child can still infect other children.

Some people, especially adults, can spread the virus without showing any signs or symptoms of illness.

In the United States and other moderate climates, disease outbreaks are most frequent in the summer and fall. In tropical climates, eruptions occur throughout the year.


Certain precautions can help reduce the risk of infection from hand, foot, and mouth disease:

Wash your hands carefully: Wash your hands frequently and methodically, especially after using the bathroom or changing a diaper and before cooking food and eating. When soap and water aren’t existing, use hand wipes or alcohol gels to kill germs.

Sanitise common areas: Get in the habit of cleaning high-traffic areas and surfaces first with soap and water, then with a diluted solution of bleach and water. Therefore child care centres must follow a strict schedule for cleaning and disinfecting all common areas, including shared items like toys, as the virus can live on these items for days. So clean your baby’s pacifiers frequently.

Teach good hygiene habits: Show your children how to practice good and stay clean. Explain why it is best not to put your fingers, hands, or other objects in your mouth.

Isolate people who can infect: Because hand, foot, and mouth diseases are highly contagious, sick people should limit their exposure to others while they have active signs and symptoms. Keep children with hand, foot, and mouth disease out of child care or school until their fever is gone and mouth sores have healed. So if you have the disease, stay home from work.


Studies conducted in China and Korea have identified risk factors for HFMD. Including low socioeconomic status, open-air defecation, poor sewage treatment, poor handwashing, and other personal hygienic habits.

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