If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911 or seek care at an emergency room.
Many parents are cautious to protect their children against seasonal illnesses, such as colds and the flu. However, a lesser-known viral infection called hand, foot, and mouth disease, is also prominent among little ones, and so far, it has affected thousands of children in the Northeast.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a contagious virus that is characterized by blisters or sores in the mouth and rashes on the hands and skin. Symptoms can also include:
- Loss of appetite
- Sore throat
The disease is spread through the air by sneezing and coughing, as well as through physical contact with people or contaminated objects, such as doorknobs. Kids are the most susceptible to hand, foot, and mouth disease because their immune systems haven’t yet developed an immune response to it like adults have.
Thankfully, hand, foot, and mouth disease is usually easy to manage. Parents can take simple steps to ensure their children overcome it quickly.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common #Infection among children that can cause mouth blisters or a skin #Rash. Thankfully, treatment is usually easy to manage. Learn more via @MedStarHealthClick to Tweet
How do I treat my child’s hand, foot, and mouth disease?
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a virus, so the body is able to naturally fight it off in about seven to 10 days without treatment. Don’t worry if your child has a low-grade fever during the first few days of the illness; fevers are the body’s friend, helping to fight off illnesses.
However, one thing we must keep in mind while kids recover is their susceptibility to dehydration. Keeping kids hydrated can be difficult, as sores in their mouths can cause drooling and make it painful to swallow liquids. Consider giving your child a pain medicine, such as ibuprofen or Tylenol®. Keep an eye on their hydration levels by checking their urine color–the lighter the better.
How can I keep my child from getting sick?
To reduce the risk of your child developing hand, foot, and mouth disease, make sure they:
- Avoid close contact, such as kissing, hugging, and sharing cups with infected kids
- Don’t touch their nose, eyes, and mouth with unwashed hands (yes, it’s tough!)
- Only touch physical objects, such as doorknobs and chairs, that have been disinfected
- Wash their hands frequently with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds at a time
Diagnosing hand, foot, and mouth disease can be simple to do, even at home, because it’s quite easy to identify the symptoms. Thankfully, it’s a mild illness that is usually easy to recover from, as long as your kids stay hydrated.