HAND FOOT & MOUTH DISEASE IN CHILDREN | BABY SKIN INFECTIONS | BABY SKIN ALLERGIES | BABY SKIN DRYNESS | NEWBORN TO 5 YEAR OLD KIDS SKIN PROBLEMS
Common in Young Children
Hand, foot, and mouth diseases are common in children under 5 years old, but anyone can get them.
The illness is usually not serious, but it is very contagious. It spreads quickly at schools and daycare centers.
Hand-foot-and-mouth disease — a mild, contagious viral infection common in young children — is characterized by sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet. Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is most commonly caused by a coxsackievirus.
There's no specific treatment for hand-foot-and-mouth disease. Frequent hand-washing and avoiding close contact with people who are infected with hand-foot-and-mouth disease may help reduce your child's risk of infection.
Hand-foot-and-mouth disease may cause all of the following signs and symptoms or just some of them. They include:
- Sore throat
- Feeling unwell
- Painful, red, blister-like lesions on the tongue, gums, and inside of the cheeks
- A red rash, without itching but sometimes with blistering, on the palms, soles, and sometimes the buttocks
- Irritability in infants and toddlers
- Loss of appetite
The most common cause of hand-foot-and-mouth disease is infection with the coxsackievirus A16. The coxsackievirus belongs to a group of viruses called non-polio enteroviruses. Other types of enteroviruses sometimes cause hand-foot-and-mouth disease.
Oral ingestion is the main source of coxsackievirus infection and hand-foot-and-mouth disease. The illness spreads by person-to-person contact with an infected person:
- Nasal secretions or throat discharge
- Fluid from blisters
- Respiratory droplets sprayed into the air after a cough or sneeze.
Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is most common in children in child care settings because of frequent diaper changes and toilet training, and because little children often put their hands in their mouths.Although your child is most contagious with hand-foot-and-mouth disease during the first week of the illness, the virus can remain in his or her body for weeks after the signs and symptoms are gone. That means your child still can infect others.
Some people, especially adults, can pass the virus without showing any signs or symptoms of the disease.
Outbreaks of the disease are more common in summer and autumn in the United States and other temperate climates. In tropical climates, outbreaks occur year-round.
Certain precautions can help to reduce the risk of infection with hand-foot-and-mouth disease:
- Wash hands carefully. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, especially after using the toilet or changing a diaper and before preparing food and eating. When soap and water aren't available, use hand wipes or gels treated with germ-killing alcohol.
- Disinfect common areas. Get in the habit of cleaning high-traffic areas and surfaces first with soap and water, then with a diluted solution of chlorine bleach and water. Child care centers should follow a strict schedule of cleaning and disinfecting all common areas, including shared items such as toys, as the virus can live on these objects for days. Clean your baby's pacifiers often.
- Teach good hygiene. Show your children how to practice good hygiene and how to keep themselves clean. Explain to them why it's best not to put their fingers, hands, or any other objects in their mouths.
- Isolate contagious people. Because hand-foot-and-mouth disease is highly contagious, people with the illness should limit their exposure to others while they have active signs and symptoms. Keep children with hand-foot-and-mouth disease out of child care or school until fever is gone and mouth sores have healed. If you have an illness, stay home from work.
A child with HFM also might:
- have a fever, muscle aches, or other flu-like symptoms
- become irritable or sleep more than usual
- begin drooling (due to painful swallowing)
- only want to drink cold fluids