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Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (coxsackievirus)

What is Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease?

  • Hand, Foot and Mouth disease is an illness caused by a virus called Coxsackie, group A.
  • It occurs mostly in children under 10, but adult cases can occur.
  • It is more common in summer and fall.

 

What signs and symptoms can you have?

  • Some people may have no symptoms.
  • A person can develop symptoms three to five days after being in contact with an infected person.
  • Symptoms include:
    • fever for 1 – 2 days;
    • a rash with small fluid-filled blisters in the mouth, on the hands, feet and sometimes on the buttocks or groin;
    • small red spots on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet.  The spots may turn into small blisters;
    • blisters in the mouth may break and appear as small ulcers on the tongue and inside of the cheeks;
    • the rash can last for seven to ten days.
  • Other common symptoms are headache, sore throat, loss of appetite and lack of energy.

 

How does a child get hand, foot and mouth disease?

  • It is spread from person to person by contact with fluids from the mouth and nose.
  • The stool of an infected person contains the virus for several weeks after symptoms have disappeared.
  • The virus can be passed from the fluid in the blisters.

 

Quick Facts

  • It is a childhood illness caused by a virus.
  • Causes rash in mouth and on hands and feet.
  • May cause blisters in the mouth.
  • Wash hands frequently to prevent the spread.

 

How do you treat hand, foot and mouth disease?

  • There is no specific treatment for this disease.
  • Discuss treatment for your child’s fever with your health care provider.
  • Children with a rash should see their doctor.
  • Offer plenty of clear, cool fluids.
  • A person with fever or diarrhea needs to be excluded from day care or school.
  • Children with the disease may return to the day care or school when they are feeling well enough to participate in activities.
  • During an outbreak, Public Health Services may recommend that children with open lesions on hands or in the mouth be excluded from day care.

 

How can you help prevent hand, foot and mouth disease?

  • Good personal hygiene is the best protection against the spread of disease.  This includes:
    • washing hands frequently;
    • keeping hands away from nose and mouth;
    • cleaning shared toys well with soap and water;
    • not sharing personal items such as a toothbrush, towel or water bottle.
  • Always thoroughly wash hands:
    • after using the toilet;
    • after diapering a child;
    • before preparing or handling food;
    • before eating.

 

For more information, contact your doctor, local Public Health Nurse, or the Saskatchewan Healthline at www.healthlineonline.ca or 1-877-800-0002.

 

Reproduced with permission from Population and Public Health ServicesRegina Qu’Appelle Health Region.

Revised January 23, 2013.