What is Hand Foot and Mouth Disease?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, hand, foot, and mouth disease (commonly known as HFMD) is a viral illness that usually affects infants and children five-year-old and below. Sometimes, however, it affects adults as well.
“It usually starts with a fever, reduced appetite, sore throat, and a feeling of being unwell (malaise),” CDC says. “One or two days after the fever starts, painful sores can develop in the mouth (herpangina).”
With HFMD, dehydration is also possible, especially for young children, because mouth sores are painful and swallowing may be difficult.
Not everyone will get all of these symptoms, CDC says. However, some people, particularly adults, may show no signs at all, but they can still pass the virus to others.
HFMD: What to Look For
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In the beginning, HFMD manifests as a common cold, accompanied by a sore throat, slight fever and aches all over the body.
Soon, however, other signs will begin to show—particularly painful sores and rashes.
The sores often appear at the back of the mouth as small red spots that blister and can become ulcers.
A skin rash with red spots that can also blister may also develop over one or two days on the palms of the hands and the feet soles of the feet. These rashes may also appear on the knees, elbows, buttocks or genital area.
How HFMD Spreads
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A viral disease, HFMD spreads through saliva, mucous, blisters and faeces. That’s why coughing, sneezing, drooling and close contact can spread the virus.
If you suspect a person is infected with the virus, it is recommended not to get too close to them as physical contact increases your chance of contracting HFMD.
How Long Does Hand Foot and Mouth Disease Last
It can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for symptoms of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) to resolve. The average duration of symptoms is about two weeks, but it’s important to keep in mind that this is just an average—some people may experience more severe symptoms than others.
In general, the most common symptoms are blisters on the palms, soles, and around the mouth. These blisters can be painful or they may not hurt at all. Other common symptoms include fever, sore throat, and swollen glands in your neck and armpits.
What Are the First Signs of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease
The first signs of HFMD are usually a fever, followed by a rash. The fever usually starts around day 2 or 3 after you get sick, but it can come later or earlier depending on your child’s age.
The rash begins on your hands and feet before spreading to other parts of your body, including your buttocks and thighs. The sores are usually flat red spots with clear fluid coming from them.
What schools are doing to prevent Hand Foot Mouth disease
Symptoms of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease
The most common symptoms include:
- Fever – High temperature of 38°C or higher
- Sore throat – Pain or discomfort when swallowing
- Diarrhoea – Watery poo with blood in it
- Vomiting – Throwing up
- Headache – Pain in your head
- Rash – Flat red spots that may blister into blisters around the mouth, hands and feet
What Causes HFMD
Hand, foot and mouth disease is an infection caused by a group of viruses called enteroviruses. These viruses are very common in children and often cause no symptoms.
Hand, foot and mouth disease can be spread from person to person through close contact with infected saliva. It can also spread when infected droplets from a cough or sneeze land on surfaces that someone touches before touching their own mouth.
People who have hand, foot and mouth disease should wash their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. They should also avoid sharing food, drinks or eating utensils with others until any symptoms have gone away for at least 5 days after their last symptom began (usually within 3-7 days).
How Do You Prevent Hand Foot and Mouth Disease
Prevention is key with HFMD.
The best way to prevent the spread of this illness is to wash your hands often and thoroughly. Use soap and warm water, or use alcohol-based hand sanitisers that contain at least 60% alcohol. You should also make sure you clean your hands after changing diapers or using the toilet.
You can also help prevent the spread of hand foot and mouth disease by practising good hygiene when it comes to what you eat. Try not to share food, utensils, or drinks with others. If you do share them, make sure they are washed well between uses.
How Do You Cure Hand Foot and Mouth Disease
Hand, foot and mouth disease is a mild viral infection that affects the mouth, hands and feet. It’s most common in children under 5 years old, but it can also occur in older kids and adults. The virus is spread through direct contact with droplets from an infected person’s coughs or sneezes.
Hand, foot and mouth disease is easy to treat with rest, fluids and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil).
Take note of these tips in caring for a child with HFMD:
- Keep your child away from other people until 24 hours after the blister-like sores disappear.
- Disinfect toys and surfaces that sores have touched before using them.
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water frequently when caring for an infected child or touching items that have come into contact with an infected person’s saliva or mucus.
If you’re taking care of someone who has hand, foot and mouth disease at home, wear disposable gloves when touching infected skin or fluid from blisters. Change gloves when you clean up vomit or urine; wear a surgical mask if you’re working directly with someone who has this disease; don’t prepare food while wearing gloves.
Should You Go to Work If Your Child Has HFMD
It’s hard to be a working parent. We know.
But the answer to the question “Should you go to work if your child has hand-foot-and-mouth?” is no. And we’re going to tell you why.
First of all, it’s not just a matter of whether or not you’ll be able to do your job—it’s also about whether or not it’s safe for you and your coworkers. The virus can spread through saliva, so if someone on your team comes into the office with symptoms, they could potentially infect anyone who shares office space with them—and that could include you!
And if any of those people are pregnant or have weakened immune systems (like diabetics), the risk goes up even more.
Second of all, there’s no reason for you to put yourself at risk of getting sick when there are other ways for you to earn money from home while caring for your child. You know what they say: safety first!
What Parents Can Do
When children start school, their risk of catching a virus from another child increases. That’s why it’s important that you make sure they properly wash their hands regularly.
If they appear to be coming down with a cold or the flu, it’s best that they stay at home where they can recover and not spread the virus to other children
If your child shows symptoms of HFMD, immediately call your doctor and keep your child hydrated.
Republished with permission from theAsianparent Philippines
Updates by Pheona Ilagan
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