Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD): What to look out for

If you have children under the age of 5 or 6, you have probably heard of the term Hand, Foot and Mouth. Maybe it is your first time dealing with this illness with your little one. Don’t worry! It is a very common infection that hits mostly young children. While it mostly hits young children, older children and adults can still get it as well, although less common. It is very prominent in childcare settings or playgroup settings, mostly whenever several children are together for extended periods of time and are sharing spaces and toys.

According to the Mayo Clinic most cases of HFMD resemble the common cold or flu symptom wise. The only signifier for HFMD is blisters/sores on the palms and fingers of hands, bottoms of the feet and around or in he mouth. Sometimes the blisters can spread up the legs, arms, and even on the diaper area. Some children could have a loss of appetite, fussiness, sore throat and a fever. Make sure to wash hands frequently, disinfect and clean any objects and surfaces that are used or touched often. Avoid touching your face and avoid close contact with people that are sick for preventive measures.

While HFMD may look and sound severe, it is typically a minor illness. This infection will could cause a fever and mild symptoms for a few days. If your child is younger that six months old, has a weakened immune system or has mouth sores/a sore throat that is making it difficult to swallow liquids or their symptoms last longer than 10 days,  that is when you should contact your pediatrician. Because HFMD is typically a minor illness, there isn’t an actual treatment for it. The CDC suggests the use over the counter medications such as Tylenol, Motrin, Advil, etc (acetaminophen or ibuprofen) for any fever or general pain symptoms. Having your child stay hydrated is the most important so that dehydration doesn’t occur and make symptoms or illness any worse.

If your child has symptoms of HFMD and you are unsure what to do, call your provider or pediatrician to get sound medical advice.