Darren T. Scoggin, MD
Children’s Medical Group

Hand-Foot-Mouth (HFM) disease is rampant right now in our community, and the pediatricians at Children’s Medical Group are seeing a lot of it currently in our practice. Here are five things to know about HFM, including some tips about how to manage this common childhood illness.

  1. Hand-Foot-Mouth disease is a viral infection, so there is no antibiotic or “cure” for it. However, there are several things to help make it more manageable, such as good skin care, staying hydrated, and fever control.
  2. Symptoms include sores on the skin (most commonly on the palms of hands, soles of feet, and diaper area), sores or blisters in the mouth, and sometimes fever. Some people may only have the rash in one part of the body, and any part of the body surface may potentially be affected.
  3. HFM disease is spread through secretions such as mucus and saliva, but is also excreted through bowel movements and can be spread through inappropriate hand hygiene. Most people are contagious for less than 7 days, but viral shedding can be longer depending on symptoms. After exposure, the virus may take 3-5 days before causing symptoms in an infected person.
  4. HFM disease is diagnosed clinically on examination, and does not usually require any testing. Sometimes, a child may have fever for a day or so before onset of the rash that confirms the diagnosis of hand-foot-mouth disease.
  5. Prevention measures are important when HFM is spreading in a community because it is spread so quickly and easily across daycare and school settings. Good hand hygiene and disinfecting surfaces is important in environmental control. Children who are running fever and are actively erupting with new rash or have open sores should stay home.

If your child is sick or experiencing symptoms of hand-foot-mouth disease, call Children’s Medical Group to be seen by a board-certified pediatrician who can help you manage this illness. You may also schedule sick and wellness visits online at www.childrensmedicalgroup.net!

Image found at CDC.gov

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