Dr. Urielle Marseille Shares Facts About Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

Now that we are approaching the colder seasons, one of the most common rashes to occur in younger children around this time of year is hand-foot-and-mouth disease.

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is a viral infection often caused by coxsackieviruses or other enteroviruses. As the name suggests, this rash tends to appear on children’s hands, feet, and mouths; however, it can also appear on other parts of their bodies. Hand-foot-and-mouth disease typically occurs in children younger than 10 years old during the fall and winter seasons. 

Symptoms of hand-foot-and-mouth disease include:

  • Low-grade fever -typically a temperature around 100.4 F
  • Rash- usually multiple pimples with some redness.  A rash may present on the palms of children’s hands and the soles of their feet. A rash can also appear on their torsos and legs.
  • Ulcers in the back of the mouth, resulting in a sore throat which may keep your child from drinking and eating.

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease does not pose any immediate danger to your child. It is self-limiting, meaning it usually resolves on its own.  However, parents need to know that the infection is contagious. It can spread to other children and adults. The most contagious period is in the first week.  The virus spreads by contact with contaminated feces, saliva or respiratory droplets. 

Here are a few things you can do to prevent transmission:

  • Keep your child home from school for at least a week
  • Isolate children who are infected
  • Have everyone at home wash their hands before eating or drinking
  • Do not share cups and utensils
  • Parents must wash their hands after every diaper change. Also, be sure to wipe changing table surfaces

As soon as you notice a rash, take your child to see a doctor.  Treatment will be focused on making your child feel comfortable.  Your doctor may prescribe medication to reduce fevers and alleviate other symptoms.  Make sure that your child is eating and drinking,

There are rarely severe complications associated with hand-foot-and-mouth disease; however, if your child experiences vomiting, trouble breathing, a fever is higher than 101 F or difficulty standing; you should take them to the emergency room right away.

If you have questions about hand-foot-and-mouth disease and would like to schedule an appointment with a Family Medicine doctor, please call 718- 206-6942.

Urielle Marseille M.D.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.