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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are a number of things you can do to prevent or reduce the spread of hand, foot, and mouth disease. They include:
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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 healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 06/01/2017