Hand, Foot, Mouth Disease
We had our first go around with Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFM) in our house last week. After playing in the backyard, my 4.5-year-old son asked me “Why do I have red dots on my hands?” I assumed he had touched a bush or plant causing a reaction. By the next morning, the “dots” had spread and were darker. He also had them in his mouth, feet and small patches over his body. I immediately thought “Oh my gosh, what is this?”
HFM is a contagious but not serious or life threatening virus that is easily spread through saliva from sneezing, coughing, kissing, sharing food or drinks and stool. It is a common virus that usually only affects kids up to the age of 5 but adults can also contract it.
HFM disease may cause all of the following signs and symptoms or just some of them. They include:
|· Fever||· Headache|
|· Sore throat||· Irritability in infants and toddlers|
|· Feeling of being unwell (malaise)||· Loss of appetite|
· Painful, red, blister-like lesions on the tongue, gums and inside of the cheeks
· A red rash, without itching but sometimes with blistering, on the palms, soles and sometimes the buttocks
“Although your child is most contagious with hand-foot-and-mouth disease during the first week of the illness, the virus can remain in his or her body for weeks after the signs and symptoms are gone. That means your child still can infect others. Some people, particularly adults, can pass the virus without showing any signs or symptoms of the disease.”
Making sure you keep your child home and away from other children while they have the virus is very important in ensuring the virus is not spread. Teaching them the importance of washing their hands after using the restroom, before eating or after covering their mouth to sneeze or cough will help to stop the spread of multiple illnesses. Remember to call your child’s doctor anytime they have any symptoms that concern you.