Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease: What You Need to Know

Chances are if you are reading this article you or your child have contracted hand foot and mouth disease. We are here to make sure you get your bases covered and become more informed on this extremely contagious condition.

What is Hand, Foot & Mouth disease?
“Hand, foot and mouth disease is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus,” stated Dr. Sarah Campbell, board-certified dermatologist with Forefront Dermatology. “The symptoms are easily identifiable: a pink to red rash on the hands, feet, and/or mouth that develops into small blisters and ultimately to ulcerations. The rash is not usually very itchy, but the ulcerations may be sore. Children and adults can catch hand, foot and mouth disease from coming in close contact to an infected individual. This includes touching something that was touched by infected individual including a toy or a doorknob.”

Myths about Hand, Foot & Mouth disease?
Many people worry that they can get this disease from a pet or other animal, but that is false. Animals cannot contract hand, foot and mouth disease. They have their own form of hoof and mouth disease but people cannot contract that either.

How long does it last?
“Hand, foot and mouth disease usually is a mild condition that develops in children under the age of 5, although it can also affect adults” noted Dr. Campbell. “Once you contract it you develop an immunity to the virus. Unfortunately, hand, foot and mouth disease can be caused by several viruses. You may contract the disease again, but only if it is a different virus strain. Hand hygiene and disinfection of commonly touched surfaces is very important to limit the spread of hand, foot, and mouth. It is important to remember that it is possible for infected individuals to pass the virus in gastrointestinal or upper respiratory secretions for 3-6 weeks after infection.”

How do you treat Hand, Foot and Mouth disease?
This disease goes away on its own without treatment typically within 7 to 10 days. You can help alleviate the symptoms by doing the following:

• Avoid eating any food that is spicy or acidic
• Drink cold liquids to sooth the mouth sores.
• Reduce the fever with acetaminophen. This over-the-counter medication is generally safe and effective for reducing fever in children and teens. Just be sure to follow the dosing, which is based on a child’s weight.

Skin Struggles?
At Forefront Dermatology, we know that life is all about the moments when you don’t need us. That’s why we’re here for all the moments when you do. We offer comprehensive and compassionate care for all skin conditions and create customized treatment plans for all stages and ages – even the tiniest of patients! Find a location near you today.