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Hand Foot & Mouth Disease

What is hand, foot, and mouth disease?

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a mild, infectious childhood illness caused by a number of different viruses. Most often, the illness is caused by a strain of the Coxsackie virus. This illness gets its name from the blister-like rash that usually forms on the hands, feet, and mouth.

Who gets hand, foot, and mouth disease?

Hand, foot and mouth disease is very common and usually affects infants and children under the age of 10. Because hand, foot, and mouth disease is infectious, it can sometimes make adolescents and adults sick, too.

What are the symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease?

The initial symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease include fever, lack of appetite, sore throat and runny nose. A day or two after the initial symptoms appear, a blister-like rash forms on the hands, feet or mouth.

How is hand, foot, and mouth disease spread?

Hand, foot and mouth disease is spread through direct contact with nose and throat discharges of the infected person. It can also be spread through contact with the stool of the infected person.

How long is a person with hand, foot, and mouth disease contagious?

While a person with this illness is most contagious during the first week, he or she may remain contagious until the blister-like rash has disappeared.

How is hand, foot, and mouth disease treated?

There is no specific treatment for hand, foot and mouth disease. However, the symptoms of this illness, including fever, aches and mouth sore pain, can be treated.

Can hand, foot, and mouth disease be prevented?

There are a number of things you can do to prevent or reduce the spread of hand, foot and mouth disease. They include:

  • Washing your hands often, especially after changing diapers
  • Disinfecting any contaminated surfaces with a water and bleach
  • Washing your child’s clothing, bedding and any other soiled items
  • Keeping your child home from daycare, school or any other group activity for the first few days of the illness

Is hand, foot, and mouth disease the same as foot-and-mouth disease?

Hand, foot and mouth disease is a completely different condition than foot-and-mouth disease. Foot-and-mouth disease is an illness that affects cattle, sheep and swine. The two diseases are not related and are caused by different viruses.

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 1/15/2007…#11129