Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease Symptoms & Causes

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In-Depth

What is hand-foot-mouth disease?

Hand-foot-mouth disease is a viral illness that results in a distinctive rash of small, blister-like bumps in the mouth, hands and feet. The blisters may also appear in the diaper area and on the legs and arms. The lesions in the mouth usually appear on the tongue, the sides of the cheeks or near the throat.

What causes hand-foot-mouth disease?

Hand-foot-mouth disease is most often caused by the coxsackie virus. The virus is contagious and can be caught by contact with bodily fluids or stools of an infected person. You're most contagious the first week you have the disease. Good hand washing is necessary to help prevent the spread of the disease.

Is hand-foot-mouth disease common?

This disease is very common in children under the age of 10. It's seen most often in the summer and fall.

What are the symptoms ofhand-foot-mouth disease?

While symptoms may vary child-to-child, the most common include:

  • blister-like bumps in the mouth (on the tongue, the cheeks and near the throat and tonsils)
  • blister-like bumps on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet; bumps may also be seen on the arms, legs and diaper area
  • mild fever

Can you prevent hand-foot-mouth disease?

Yes. Proper hand washing is essential in helping to prevent the disease from being spread to other children.

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