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Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
The following information was taken from this website:  https://www.cdc.gov/hand-foot-mouth/
 
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 older children and adults. Typical symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease include fever, mouth sores, and a skin rash. 
 
 

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 older children and adults. It usually starts with

  • A fever
  • Reduced appetite
  • Sore throat
  • A feeling of being unwell (malaise)

One or two days after the fever starts, painful sores can develop in the mouth (herpangina). They usually begin as small red spots, often in the back of the mouth, that blister and can become painful.

A skin rash on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet may also develop over one or two days as flat, red spots, sometimes with blisters. 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. You should seek medical care in these cases.

Not everyone will get all of these symptoms. Some people, especially adults, may become infected and show no symptoms at all, but they can still pass the virus to others.

Most people who get hand, foot, and mouth disease will have mild illness or no symptoms at all. But a small proportion of cases can be more severe.

 

Causes

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

  • Coxsackievirus A16 is typically the most common cause of hand, foot, and mouth disease in the United States, but other coxsackieviruses can also cause the illness.
  • Enterovirus 71 has also been associated with cases and outbreaks of hand, foot, and mouth disease, mostly in children in East and Southeast Asia. Less often, enterovirus 71 has been associated with severe disease, such as encephalitis.
  • Several types of enteroviruses may be identified in outbreaks of hand, foot and mouth disease, but most of the time, only one or two enteroviruses are identified.

Transmission

Toddler with hand , foot and mouth disease.

The viruses that cause hand, foot, and mouth disease can be found in an infected person’s:

  • Nose and throat secretions (such as saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus)
  • Blister fluid
  • Feces (poop)

You can get exposed to the viruses that cause hand, foot, and mouth disease through:

  • Close personal contact, such as hugging an infected person
  • The air when an infected person coughs or sneezes
  • Contact with feces, such as changing diapers of an infected person, then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth before washing your hands
  • Contact with contaminated objects and surfaces, like touching a doorknob that has viruses on it, then touching your eyes, mouth, or nose before washing your hands

It is also possible to get infected with the viruses that cause hand, foot, and mouth disease if you swallow recreational water, such as water in swimming pools. However, this is not very common. This is more likely to happen if the water is not properly treated with chlorine and becomes contaminated with feces from a person who has hand, foot, and mouth disease.

Generally, a person with hand, foot, and mouth disease is most contagious during the first week of illness. People can sometimes be contagious for days or weeks after symptoms go away. Some people, especially adults, may become infected and not develop any symptoms, but they can still spread the virus to others. This is why people should always try to maintain good hygiene, such as frequent handwashing, so they can minimize their chance of spreading or getting infections.

You should stay home while you are sick with hand, foot, and mouth disease. Talk with your healthcare provider if you are not sure when you should return to work or school. The same applies to children returning to daycare.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is not transmitted to or from pets or other animals.

 

 

Prevention

There is currently no vaccine in the United States to protect against the viruses that cause hand, foot, and mouth disease. But researchers are working to develop vaccines to help prevent hand, foot, and mouth disease in the future.

You can lower your risk of being infected by doing the following:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after changing diapers and using the toilet. Visit CDC’s Clean Hands Save Lives! for more information
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and soiled items, including toys
  • Avoid close contact such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups with people with hand, foot, and mouth disease

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for hand, foot, and mouth disease. However, you can do some things to relieve symptoms:

  • Take over-the-counter medications to relieve pain and fever (Caution: Aspirin should not be given to children.)
  • Use mouthwashes or sprays that numb mouth pain

If a person has mouth sores, it might be painful for them to swallow. However, it is important for people with hand, foot, and mouth disease to drink enough liquids to prevent dehydration (loss of body fluids). If a person cannot swallow enough liquids to avoid dehydration, they may need to receive them through an IV in their vein.

If you are concerned about your symptoms you should contact your health care provider.

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