Hand, foot, and mouth disease is very common among children under 5 years of age. This is because at this age children have not yet developed antibodies against the viruses that cause it.

If you have not heard about this disease or want to know more about it, here you will find everything you need to know.

What is hand, foot, and mouth disease?

Hand, foot and mouth disease is a contagious viral infection that is often similar to the common cold. However, its differentiating factor is that children develop blisters on the body; especially, in the mouth, on the hands, and on the feet, hence its name.

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The outbreak of this disease occurs most frequently during the summer and fall. Although it is not serious, in some cases it can present complications, so it is important to monitor its development and consult with your pediatrician.

Symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease

Usually, its symptoms are similar to those of a cold, but with certain differences that usually appear between the third and sixth day after infection. During its incubation period, it can spread to other people. Some of its symptoms are:

  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • General discomfort
  • Loss of appetite
  • Blisters in the mouth, on hands and/or feet
  • Reddish rashes and others

Not always all the symptoms are present, so it is not necessary to wait for them to appear to determine the disease. These discomforts usually go away on their own after a week.

What to do if my child gets infected?

There is currently no medical treatment for this disease. The most important thing to do is trying to reduce any fever and pain that the child may have (symptomatic treatment).

It is recommended to consult a pediatrician so they can diagnose the disease and prescribe some medication for your child to reduce their discomfort, whether for blisters, a rash, or other symptoms. Don’t forget that it is important to keep your little one hydrated. Make sure they’re drinking enough fluids to avoid dehydration, which can complicate the situation.

Causes of hand, foot, and mouth disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hand, foot and mouth disease is caused by a virus that belongs to the enterovirus group, among which we can find the Coxsackie A16 virus, which is the main (or most common) cause of this disease.

This virus is found in the secretions of an infected child, such as saliva or nasal mucus, in the stool, or in the fluid secreted by the blisters. That means that there is the possibility of contagion by being around a child who has the disease, or when there is contact with feces (for example, if you have to change diapers) or with objects that have been handled by the child.

It is extremely important to have the habit of washing your hands frequently, disinfecting toys and surfaces, avoiding sharing food, using tissues when sneezing or coughing, and taking other precautions to prevent contagion to other members of the family or other children.

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If any of your children had the hand, foot, and mouth disease or you want to know more about it, leave us a comment! We would love to hear about your experience or concerns.