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Hand-foot-and-mouth disease
Hand-foot-and-mouth disease


Hand, foot, and mouth disease on the soles
Hand, foot, and mouth disease on the soles


Hand, foot, and mouth disease on the hand
Hand, foot, and mouth disease on the hand


Hand, foot, and mouth disease on the foot
Hand, foot, and mouth disease on the foot


Hand, foot, and mouth disease - mouth
Hand, foot, and mouth disease - mouth


Hand, foot, and mouth disease on the foot
Hand, foot, and mouth disease on the foot


Definition:

Hand-foot-mouth disease is a relatively common infection viral infection that usually begins in the throat.

A similar infection is herpangina .



Alternative Names:

Coxsackievirus infection



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD) is most commonly caused by coxsackievirus A16, a member of the enterovirus family.

The disease is not spread from pets, but it can be spread by person to person. You may cacth it if you come into direct contact with nose and throat discharges, saliva, fluid from blisters, or the stools of an infected person. You are most contagious the first week you have the disease.

The time between infection and the development of symptoms is about 3 - 7 days.

The most important risk factor is age. The infection occurs most often in children under age 10, but can be seen in adolescents and occasionally adults. The outbreaks occur most often in the summer and early fall.



Symptoms:

Signs and tests:

A history of recent illness and a physical examination, demonstrating the characteristic vesicles on the hands and feet, are usually sufficient to diagnose the disease.



Treatment:

There is no specific treatment for the infection other than relief of symptoms.

Treatment with antibiotics is not effective, and is not indicated. Over-the-counter medicines, such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) can be used to treat fever. Aspirin should not be used in viral illnesses in children under age 12 years.

Salt water mouth rinses (1/2 teaspoon of salt to 1 glass of warm water) may be soothing if the child is able to rinse without swallowing. Make sure your child gets plenty of fluids. Extra fluid is needed when a fever is present. The best fluids are cold milk products. Many children refuse juices and sodas because their acid content causes burning pain in the ulcers.



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

Generally, complete recovery occurs in 5 to 7 days.



Complications:

Calling your health care provider:

Call your doctor if there are signs of complications, such as pain in neck or arms and legs. Emergency symptoms include convulsions .

You should also call if:

  • A high fever is not reduced by medication
  • Signs of dehydration occur:
    • Dry skin and mucus membranes
    • Weight loss
    • Irritability
    • Lethargy
    • Decreased or dark urine.


Prevention:

Avoid contact with people with known illness. Practice strict hand washing if in contact with infected children.




Review Date: 7/25/2007
Reviewed By: Kenneth M. Wener, MD, Department of Infectious Diseases. Lahey Clinic, Burlington, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100