Hand foot & mouth disease

Hand foot and mouth disease is a common childhood illness that causes a fever along with blisters or sores inside the mouth and on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. It is caused by a variety of viruses called enteroviruses. Hand foot and mouth is not a serious illness although it can cause a great deal of discomfort and goes away on its own in a week to ten days.

Although not serious hand foot and mouth disease is highly contagious and it spreads through direct contact with the fluid of the blisters, nasal passage, throat discharge, and feces from infected children, and is easily spread through coughing and sneezing.

To minimise the spread of infection good hygiene practices need to be encouraged, and because it is caused by a virus there is no specific treatment other than using products that will help relieve the symptoms, and discomfort such as paracetamol, anti-inflammatories for any aches and pains or fever, and mouthwashes and gargles for the mouth ulcers.

It is important to keep infected children segregated until the blisters have dried up, and formed a crust, and to seek medical attention if a severe headache develops, fever persists, or any other worrying symptoms develop.