On the Rise – Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

Your child experiencing fever, feelings of being ill, blisters or sore throat? These otherwise common symptoms are all also attributed to Hand, Foot and Mouth disease which creates a characteristic rash on the hands and feet. HFMD is a common viral infection often caught by children 5 years of age or younger, more specifically pre-schoolers. However, it can be incurred by adults as well. Typically, more prevalent in the summer and fall, this disease effects approximately 10-15 million people. Fortunately, the bulk of the symptoms are usually over within a week.

Symptoms can vary and are often times not experienced by infected adults. Common symptoms mostly prefaced by fever include:

  • diminished appetite due to sore throat associated with oral lesions
  • foot lesions that can also appear on lower calf and butt cheeks
  • small red spots that develop into blisters on palms, soles and in oral cavity

Although there is no cure for the disease itself, treatment is offered to address symptoms like fever and sore throat

So how is it spread? HFMD can spread through direct contact with the virus (e.g. coughing, sneezing, contact with feces such as in diaper changing) and by touching contaminated surfaces. The disease has an incubation period of 1-3 days once a person is infected and can remain in the respiratory system (saliva and nasal mucous) for 1-3 weeks or intestinal tract 2-8 weeks. However, the individual is most contagious during the first week.

Stay well by knowing the following risk factors and being proactive. Keep in mind risk factors include age, high exposure (e.g. attending daycare), summer and fall seasons, a compromised immune system and ineffective hygiene. Take action by encouraging hand washing and staying abreast hygiene for your child as well as yourself.

It is most important to continue to educate yourself on best practices, encourage your child to practice habits and that can keep them healthy even when you aren’t around and of course seek medical assistance. As always, Your Kid’s Urgent Care is ready to provide excellent care with compassion for your child.