- What Is It?
- Risk Factors
- Signs and Symptoms
- 4 Prevention Tips
A child infected with hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is most contagious during the first week of sickness (even before the rash). However, some can spread the infection days to weeks after the disappearance of symptoms (drying up of blisters).
A parent could contract hand, foot, and mouth disease from their children through feces or fluid from blisters, but adults are more likely to remain asymptomatic than children.
What is hand foot and mouth disease?
Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common, but highly contagious infection in infants and children caused by an enterovirus, most commonly coxsackieviruses. It is characterized by fever, painful red blisters in the mouth, throat, and hands, and feet.
There is no curative treatment or vaccination available for HFMD at present; hence, safety precautions are the only way to avoid the illness and prevent its spread.
What causes hand foot and mouth disease?
Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is caused by coxsackieviruses A16, A6, and enterovirus 71, which is part of the enterovirus family (airborne) that lives in the human digestive tract. The primary source of HFMD infection is oral ingestion of the virus.
The virus usually spreads through person-to-person contacts, such as through the following ways:
- Nose and throat secretions, such as saliva, drool, or nasal mucus
- Fluid from blisters
- Surfaces contaminated by feces (poop) and then touching the mouth, eyes, or nose
- Respiratory droplets after a cough or a sneeze
- Close contact with an infected person, such as touching, hugging, or handling infected toys and doorknobs
- Sharing utensils and clothing
Who is at risk for hand foot and mouth disease?
The virus is capable of infecting individuals multiple times.
Risk factors for developing hand, foot, and mouth disease include:
- Age: Children younger than five years are more likely to get the infection.
- Seasonal: More common in summer and fall seasons.
- Schools and daycares: An outbreak can occur in childcare settings.
What are the signs and symptoms of hand foot and mouth disease?
Symptoms typically appear within three to seven days after exposure to the virus (incubation period) and may rarely turn into serious complications.
11 Most common signs and symptoms include:
How do you prevent hand foot and mouth disease from getting worse?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the majority of the cases recover within 7 to 10 days with or without medical intervention.
There is no proper medication or antibiotic available for treatment, but the following methods could be beneficial:
- Hydration with lots of oral fluids, soups, and fruit juices
- To relieve discomfort and fever, take ibuprofen or acetaminophen
- To heal blisters, topical ointments (such as zinc oxide or petroleum jelly)
- Cold drinks, ice, and mouthwash help soothe the mouth and throat
- Avoidance of spicy foods
The following preventive four steps can help stop the spread of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD):
Cleveland Clinic. Hand foot and mouth disease. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/11129-hand-foot-and-mouth-disease
Ellis R. Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/children/guide/hand-foot-mouth-disease
American Academy of Family Physicians. Hand, foot, and mouth disease. https://familydoctor.org/condition/hand-foot-and-mouth-disease/
Top Catch Hand Foot and Mouth Disease From My Child Related Articles
Are Skin Rashes Contagious?Direct and indirect contact can spread some types of rashes from person to person. Rash treatment depends upon a rash's underlying cause. A rash that sheds large amounts of skin warrants urgent medical attention. Rashes can be either contagious or noncontagious. Noncontagious rashes include seborrheic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, stasis dermatitis, psoriasis, nummular eczema, drug eruptions, hives, heat rash (miliaria), and diaper rash. Rashes usually considered contagious include molluscum contagiosum (viral), impetigo (bacterial), herpes (herpes simplex, types 1 and 2 viruses), rash caused by Neisseria meningitides (N. meningitides) (bacterial), rash and blisters that accompany shingles (herpes zoster virus), ringworm (fungal) infections (tinea), scabies (itch mite), chickenpox (viral), measles and rubella (viral), erythema infectiosum (viral), pityriasis rosea (viral), cellulitis and erysipelas (bacterial), lymphangitis (bacterial, and folliculitis (bacterial).
Bacterial Infections 101Get more information on bacterial skin infections, which bacteria cause food poisoning, sexually transmitted bacteria, and more. Explore the most common bacterial infections.
Can Adults Get Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease From Children?Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a contagious viral infection that can affect children and adults alike. Learn about symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD)Hand, foot, and mouth syndrome is a clinical pattern consisting of a rash on the hands and feet, and in the mouth. Hand, foot, and mouth syndrome are caused by various viruses, including several types of Coxsackieviruses. Other symptoms include sore throat, decreased appetite, irritability, and (or) fever.
Herpangina vs Hand Foot Mouth Disease (HFMD)Herpangina and HFMD are viral infections that are common during childhood years. The most common cause of herpangina is Enterovirus. HFMD is caused mainly by the Coxsackievirus. In recent types, a strain of coxsackievirus had been implicated in herpangina as well.
Mono (Infectious Mononucleosis)Infectious mononucleosis is a virus infection in which there is an increase of white blood cells that are mononuclear (with a single nucleus) "Mono" and "kissing disease" are popular terms for this very common illness caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
Is Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) Contagious?Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a highly contagious disease caused by several enteroviruses. These viruses are transmitted via nasal secretions, kissing, and saliva. HFMD causes the following symptoms and signs: decreased appetite, sore throat, fever, weakness, and painful sores on the hands, feet, and in the mouth.
Skin RashThe word "rash" means an outbreak of red bumps on the body. The way people use this term, "a rash" can refer to many different skin conditions. The most common of these are scaly patches of skin and red, itchy bumps or patches all over the place.
Skin Problems: Contagious Rashes, Bumps, and BlistersWhy do rashes, bumps, and blisters appear on your skin? There are several medical causes. Find out what causes bumps, rashes, and other skin conditions in adults and children. Whether on the arm, leg, trunk, or head, itchy or painful rashes and bumps can often be treated using home remedies or medicine.
Skin Conditions Below the WaistSkin conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis, and allergies may produce redness and other symptoms. See your dermatologist right away if you develop itchy skin, rashes, pimples, or other skin conditions. Dermatology experts are best if you suspect skin cancer or other serious skin disease.
What's a Virus?Is a virus alive? Learn the definition of a virus. Viral infections like COVID-19 can occur in your eyes, mouth, skin, or anywhere else. Should you use antibiotics to treat the flu? Is this STD a bacterium or a virus? Get the answers to the most common questions about viral infections.
What Are the 4 Types of Infections?Infection occurs when germs enter your body and multiply, resulting in disease. The four main types of infections are viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic.