WHAT IS HAND-FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE?
Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is a mild, contagious viral infection common in young children which are caused by coxsackievirus. It is characterized by sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet.
Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is common in children in child care settings. This is because children often put their hands in their mouths.
Symptoms of the hand-foot-mouth disease:
- Sore Throat
- Loss of appetite
- Painful blister inside a child’s mouth, usually toward the back, or on their tongue
- Feeling unwell
Cause of Hand-foot-and-mouth disease
The hand-foot-and-mouth disease is caused by coxsackievirus infection. It is normally spread by oral ingestion. This is why children have higher possibilities of infecting the disease.
The illness can be spread by person-to-person contact through:
- Nasal secretions or throat discharge
- Fluid from blister
- Cough or sneeze
Therefore, it is important to stay away from a person who is infected.
Treatment of Hand-foot-and-mouth disease
Unfortunately, there is no cure or vaccine for this disease. Even antibiotics will not be helpful in this situation as Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is caused by a virus.
However, it usually goes away on its own after 7 to 10 days. In the meantime, you can help your child feel better with:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen or numbing mouth sprays. Don’t use aspirin, because it can cause serious illness in children.
- Cold treats like ice pops, yogurt, or smoothies to soothe a sore throat. Avoid juice and soda, which have acids that might irritate sores.
- Anti-itch lotion, like calamine, for rashes
- Keep hydrated
It is important to visit the doctor if the situation did not improve within 10 days.
Prevention of Hand-foot-and-mouth disease
Although the first 7 days of illness will be the most contagious period of the illness, the virus can stay in their hostages through spit or stool. Therefore it is important to stay away from a person who previously got infected by this disease.
Other than that, there are other ways to do prevention:
- Frequent handwashing especially after changing diapers
- Not sharing eating utensils
- Keeping hands away from eyes, nose, or mouth
- Regularly disinfecting toys and surfaces
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