Hand-foot-and-mouth diseases is a mild and but high communicable viral infection that is usually common in young children where they can have sores in the mouth and rashes can develop on the hands as well as the feet. Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is caused by coxsackievirus.
- Sore throat
- A feeling of being sick or malaise
- Causes irritation in infants and toddlers
- Blister-like lesions that are reddish and painful that develop on the tongue, inside the cheeks and on the gums
- A red rash that is not itchy but sometimes there are blisters that develop on the palms and soles and sometimes in the buttocks.
- There is loss of appetite
- The incubation period is about 3-6 days.
A common cause of hand-foot-and-mouth disease is having an infection of the coxsackievirus that belongs to a group of viruses called non-polio enteroviruses. The infection can be spread by person-to-person contact with infected saliva, stool, fluid coming from the blisters, nasal secretions or discharge from the throat and respiratory droplets caused by cough or sneeze.
Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is usually common among small children because of frequent changing of diapers and potty-training and small children sometimes put their hands in the mouth.
A child is considered highly contagious during the first week of infection. The virus can still be present in the body for weeks after symptoms are already gone but the child can still infect other people.
Infected adults can also transmit the virus without any signs or symptoms of the disease.
- Some foods and beverages can cause irritation of the blisters found on the tongue, mouth or throat, the affected child can suck ice pops or ice chips, eat sherbet or ice cream in order to lessen the soreness of the blisters.
- Drink cold beverages such as milk or ice water
- Avoid eating acidic foods and beverages such as citrus fruits, soda and fruit drinks.
- Avoid eating salty or spicy foods and foods that does not need plenty of chewing
- After eating rinse and gargle the mouth using warm salt water. Prepare ½ teaspoon of salt and put it in 1 glass of warm water. Gargle using this solution several times every day. Remember that salt water helps relax, minimize pain and inflammation of the ulcers that develop inside the mouth.
- Wash hands properly using soap and water, especially after changing diapers and after using the toilet.
- Frequently touched surfaces and soiled belongings and also contaminated toys should be properly cleaned and disinfected.
- Avoid close contact such as hugging, kissing and sharing of utensils or cups with individuals suffering from the disease.
- Those who are suffering from hand-foot-and-mouth disease should drink plenty of liquids in order to help prevent dehydration or loss of fluids in the body.