Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease

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Unfortunately, hand, foot and mouth disease is a very common (and very contagious!) virus that impacts mostly little ones, especially during the fall and winter seasons. Luckily, it is not typically serious and resolves without treatment. Here’s what the experts from the AAP have to say:

  • What are the signs and symptoms?
    • It takes 3-6 days after exposure for symptoms to appear
    • Generally starts with cold symptoms such as fever, sore throat, and runny nose followed by a rash with small blisters on the hands, feet, mouth, and buttocks
    • Typically resolves within 1 week
    • Peeling of hands and feet may last up to 2 weeks, but is not contagious or harmful
  • Is there a treatment?
    • There is no specific treatment apart from appropriately-dosed acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever and discomfort
    • Your pediatrician may prescribe a pain-relieving mouthwash for oral sores causing discomfort
  • Prevention:
      • This is easier said than done with little ones who love to put everything in their mouths, but it is the single best way to prevent the spread of this virus
      • The virus can be spread both through the air, saliva, and stool, so be sure to disinfect hands thoroughly after each diaper change
    • Regularly disinfect surfaces and toys and discourage children from sharing utensils, cups, towels, etc.
  • Other Notes:
    • If you suspect your child may have hand, foot and mouth disease, contact your pediatrician.
      • Once confirmed, alert your child’s daycare or preschool
    • Try to keep your child well-hydrated
    • Adults and older children can get it too, so be sure to encourage good hand hygiene for everyone

As always, if you have any concerns about your child’s health, please contact your pediatrician or healthcare provider. Here are some helpful links from the experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics:


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