What is Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease?
Hand-foot-and-mouth disease, also known as HFMD, is a mild but an extremely contagious infection that is very common in young children. This illness has a tell-tale sign - rashes on hands and feet and sores in the mouth. This infection can cause painful and uncomfortable rashes. If you notice the slightest symptom, call your child’s pediatrician right away.
Who is Affected by Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease?
Hand-foot-mouth is not severe (unless left untreated!) and it is extremely common. Children entering school or daycare are likely to get it because it is contagious. Anyone can have HFMD, but children under 10 are most likely to get infected. Unfortunately, no matter how many eyes watch them, young children do touch each other and spread germs quickly.
Your physician will likely recommend keeping the child home from school or daycare. If other children are living with the infected child, it is essential to make sure the child does not come into contact with the others. Additionally, if the child has been to school and daycare since feeling sick, inform their teacher so they can make sure the rest of the class is safe.
Symptoms and Causes
Coxsackievirus A16 is the most common cause of HFMD. This virus belongs to a group called the non-polio enteroviruses. Other types of enteroviruses can cause HFMD as well.
Some of the symptoms of HFMD include:
- Sore throat
- Red, painful, blister-like bumps on the tongue, inside of the cheek, and gums
- A red, itchy rash on the hands, feet, and other sensitive areas
- Lack of appetite
If your infant or toddler has any of these symptoms, don’t wait. Call the doctor right away and separate them from any other family members. Oral ingestion is one of the most usual sources of the coxsackievirus. The disease spreads when someone comes into contact with another person’s phlegm, feces, or nasal secretions. If your child comes into contact with an infected person, wash their hands immediately, and begin observing for the first sign of a rash outbreak.
Complications of HFMD
One of the most severe but common complications of HFMD is dehydration. The infection causes sores and inflammation in the throat, making it painful to swallow. If your child is ill, make sure they get enough fluids. If the dehydration is severe, IV fluids might be necessary.
Complications are infrequent. If left untreated, Hand-foot-mouth can turn into Encephalitis, which is potentially life-threatening and involves brain inflammation. The other is viral meningitis, which consists of the inflammation of membranes and the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the spinal cord and brain.
Teach your children good hygiene. If your child understands that it’s essential to be clean and take care of themselves, they will be less susceptible to HFMD. Frequent handwashing can prevent the spread of disease through direct contact. Keep your children away from people who are sick. This way, they are much less likely to get sick in general. Clean high-traffic areas in the home with bleach and water. Make sure to clean toys, pacifiers, and bottles often.
If you suspect your child is coming down with an illness, call Glen Allen Pediatrics right away at 804-282-4210 and talk to the friendly staff about making an appointment. Our pediatricians have decades of experience helping children in the Richmond, Virginia area. Glen Allen Pediatrics utilizes the most modern technology and techniques to treat your children. Best of all, you’ll have the benefits of dealing with a consistent pediatrician. Our friendly service has earned us an A+ from the BBB, and our doctors.