Hand, foot and mouth disease sounds like something only farmyard animals get, but it is NOT as scary as it may sound!
Caused by a group of viruses, it is NOT the same as foot and mouth disease (which affects cattle, sheep and pigs) and is most commonly found in children.
Spread by direct contact with nasal and throat secretions of an infected person or by touching contaminated surfaces, it is very contagious and it is important all mums are aware of the symptoms.
1. What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease include:
- Fever/ high temperature
- Sore mouth
- Development of a rash
- Raised pink spots on hands, feet and sometimes the bum that develop into blisters
- Mouth ulcers
However, it is important that parents bear in mind that some kids may only have one or two symptoms.
Hand, foot and mouth disease is contagious and anyone infected is more likely to pass it on in the first week; the virus will remain in their faeces for a few weeks after they are better and can still pass it on.
It is a mild and short-lasting illness and the virus generally clears itself up after about 10 days.
To prevent the spread of the disease, the HSE recommends you wash any contaminated clothes or towels in a hot cycle, wash dishes in hot soapy water and keep surfaces and toys clean.
2. Treatment options available
At this moment there is no specific treatment option available – an over-the-counter pain reliever can help ease any discomfort, and kids generally get over it quickly enough.
3. Prevention is better than cure
As with everything prevention is better than cure, so make sure your little one washes their hands with soap and water, covers their mouth/ nose when sneezing or coughing and throws away any used tissues.