Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a quite common childhood illness that is caused by several types of viruses. The disease mostly occurs in children of preschool age, although anyone can contract it. HFMD will mostly occur during the summer and fall.
The most common cause of HFMD is the Coxsackie virus. In rare instances, HFMD can turn into viral meningitis or encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). Even in these cases, a child with HFMD will usually recover in a week to ten days with no lasting damage.
The first symptoms of HFMD include a mind fever, loss of appetite, sore throat, and lethargy. After the fever is present for a day or two, your child can develop sores inside their mouth and on the tongue. The sores can be extremely painful. There may also be a rash on the soles of the feet, the palms of the hands, and occasionally on the buttocks. The rash will first look like flat red spots and that will then become raised and may blister.
Although a doctor cannot do much for HFMD, you should contact them if you think your child has this illness. If your child’s fever is over 39.4 degrees Celsius, or lasts for more than three days, contact the doctor. He can make recommendations on how to best care for your sick child.
Treatment usually consists of bed rest, plenty of fluids, and children’s pain reliever or fever reducing medicines. (Remember to never give a child aspirin. Aspirin is linked to Reye’s syndrome and can be fatal.)
HFMD is extremely contagious, so if your child is diagnosed with HFMD, you must keep them home until they have fully recovered and make sure that proper hand washing techniques are followed by everyone who comes in contact with your child.