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Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common illness in children. It isn't serious and usually clears up all by itself. It is NOT related to foot and mouth disease in cattle and other animals. The cause is a virus called coxsackievirus A16.
The first indication of HFMD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), can be mistaken for other conditions, since many of the symptoms mimic a cold or the flu in the early stages. They include:
CDC says sores will develop in the mouth a day or two after the fever starts. At the same time a rash of red spots, they could be raised or flat, develops. The rash is usually on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. The red spots in the mouth will blister and could turn into ulcers. The rash on the hands and the feet does not usually itch but can be painful for some children.
There aren't any treatments for HFMD. Any treatment given is to impact the fever and the discomfort from the sores. It is important to consult your doctor if your child appears to have HFMD. You should never medicate your child without consulting your doctor. The disease will generally go away in 7 to 10 days by itself.
Just because the symptoms have gone away doesn't mean that the person isn't still contagious. In fact, CDC says that the virus can still be around for weeks.
The virus is spread via salvia from the blisters in a person's mouth, fluid in the blisters on the skin and the stool of an infected person. That is why care should be taken if a child is still in diapers and has the disease. Special care needs to be taken when changing the diaper and cleaning your hands and the surface the child was changed on. Good hand washing practices are essential in keeping the disease from spreading.
All Concept Communications material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.
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