Hand foot mouth disease (HFMD) is an extremely contagious viral infection most commonly caused by a virus called coxsackievirus. The virus is passed through contact with another individual’s saliva, stool or respiratory secretions. Prevention begins with understanding the causes as well as the symptoms and treatment options.
Symptoms of Hand Foot Mouth Disease
Hand foot mouth disease has an incubation period of three to seven days, during which your body hosts the disease without exhibiting any symptoms. A sore throat and a temperature of 101-103℉ are commonly the first symptoms to appear.
Some of the other early symptoms of HFMD are:
- Little to no appetite
- Painful, red blisters in the mouth
- Red rash on the hands and bottom of the feet
It is possible to pass hand, foot, mouth disease to others without exhibiting any of the above symptoms. Such a possibility is more common among adults who contract HFMD.
Who Does Foot and Mouth Disease Affect?
Infants and children under five years of age are most affected by the disease, especially those attending school or daycare. These environments involve frequent and close contact with other children, which leads to a higher likelihood of virus transmission.
Adults and teens are capable of contracting HFMD, though it is rare because most individuals build a tolerance to the viruses that cause HFMD by adolescence. However, adults with weakened immune systems are especially susceptible to catching the virus.
Treatment and Length of the Disease
While the virus normally clears up on its own after ten days, there are several treatment options you can adopt in order to better cope with HFMD symptoms:
- Prescription or over-the-counter topical creams help soothe blisters and rashes
- Pain relievers help reduce pain and headaches
- Cough syrup or drops are helpful in soothing throat pain and irritation
- Drinking or eating cold items such as popsicles, ice cream, sherbet or cold beverages are also helpful in soothing mouth and throat pain
- Avoid citrus, salty, and spicy foods
- Using warm salt water as a mouthwash can help the pain associated with the mouth blisters and throat sores
People are most contagious during the first week of illness but can continue to carry and transmit the virus weeks after their symptoms have cleared. As a result, it is important for those suffering from HFMD to stay home while infected and to speak with a healthcare provider about when returning to school, work or daycare is a safe option.
Get Hand Mouth and Foot Disease Treatment at FastMed
If you’re looking for a safe, confidential, quality and compassionate healthcare provider to help you or your family member deal with the symptoms of HFMD, try FastMed Urgent Care!
At FastMed, we offer our patients the ability to avoid hospital waiting rooms for non-emergent needs and receive great care quickly.
If you or your child is suffering from hand foot mouth disease, stop in and see a healthcare provider at your local FastMed today!
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/hand-foot-mouth/about/prevention-treatment.html
Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hand-foot-and-mouth-disease/basics/symptoms