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Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

One of the most contagious viral infections a young child can get is called Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease, or Coxsackie Virus. It is an intro-viral infection, which means it can not be treated or cured with antibiotics.

Pediatrician Dr. Sue Hubbard, co-host of The Kid’s Doctor radio show says hand-foot-mouth is normally seen in toddlers but older children and even adults can catch it. Symptoms include fever, irritability, drooling, loss of appetite, sore throat and blister-like lesions on the bottom of the foot, palm of hands and sometimes on the buttocks by the diaper area. But Dr. Hubbard warns, “You don’t always see children with a classic presentation of symptoms.”

Dr. Hubbard says that children can catch hand-foot-mouth more than one time and it is very contagious. It is normally spread through person-to-person contact via mouth and nose secretions. Therefore, she emphasizes it is very important for parents to have good hand hygiene while treating their child.

Hand-foot-mouth disease is normally treated with TLC. “You can treat the fever with an acetaminophen or ibuprofen product, but don’t use both at the same time. Feed the child soft, cool foods that will be easy on their sore throats and be sure to keep the child hydrated,” Dr. Hubbard advises.

A child can normally return to daycare or school after they are fever free for 24 hours. Dr. Hubbard also advises parents to let the school or daycare program know that the child has hand-foot-mouth so other parents can be warned.

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