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Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

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Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease







             hand foot and mouth



What is Hand, Foot and Mouth disease?



Hand, foot and mouth disease is a common viral infection. It is not related to the disease in cattle with a similar name (foot-and-mouth disease).


Symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease include tiny blisters on various parts of the body including the mouth, fingers, palms of hands, buttocks, nappy area, soles of feet, upper arms or upper legs (Thomas & Janniger 1993). The blisters tend to last for a week and some children display fever, sore throat, runny nose or cough, vomiting or diarrhea. The most troublesome symptom for children is the blisters in the mouth, which make it difficult for the child to eat and drink (Thomas & Janniger 1993).


How does Hand, Foot and Mouth spread?


The virus is in the fluid of the blister and can be spread by becoming airborne during coughing, singing, talking etc. The virus is also found in children’s faeces, and can be present in faeces for several weeks after the child has recovered (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2012).


Incubation Period


The incubation period is usually 3-5 days (Miller & Tindall 1968).



Infectious Period


Children are infectious as long as the blisters contain fluid (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2012).




There is no direct antiviral agent to treat hand, foot and mouth disease. It is recommended that children rest and drink cool liquids to prevent dehydration. Spicy and acidic substances should be avoided as they can cause discomfort especially if there are blisters present in the mouth (Thomas & Janniger 1993).







Source for image: 


Boughton B. EV71: Vaccine Prevents Hand-Foot-Mouth, Associated Disease. Medscape Medical News. Available at


Miller GD, Tindall JP. Hand-foot-and-mouth disease. JAMA. Mar 4 1968;203(10):827-30


National Health and Medical Research Council (2012). Staying Healthy: Preventing diseases in early childhood education and care services 5th Edn. NHMRC, Canberra


Thomas I, Janniger CK. Hand, foot, and mouth disease. Cutis. Nov 1993;52(5):265-6.

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