It’s that time of year where your child comes home sick every other day from school or nursery. While sometimes it’s just a regular fever or cold, other times there are diseases or viruses that are contagious and need to be recognized immediately.

We’ll be putting together a series of articles to help you spot diseases in order to be able to help your kid as soon as possible. In this article, we’ll help you identify the signs and symptoms of Hand, foot and mouth disease, how to spot it early on and when to see a doctor.

What is Hand, foot and mouth disease? 

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Hand, foot and mouth disease is a mild viral infection that can affect anyone but is most commonly found in children under the age of 10. As you can tell by the name, the virus attacks the mouth, leaving sores and attacks the hands and feet leaving rashes. It is caused by a virus known as the Coxsackie virus.

Anyone can get the disease, but children under the age of 10 are most likely to catch it. You can take steps to ease the symptoms while it runs its course, though.

How can I spot hand, foot and mouth disease?

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Symptoms: 

According to Mayoclinic, your child could suffer from some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Feeling tired or unwell
  • Red, painful spots on the tongue, gums and inner cheeks
  • A red rash on hand palms, foot soles and sometimes even on the buttocks. They do not have to be itchy but sometimes may cause blisters.
  • Irritability in infants and toddlers
  • Loss of appetite
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During the incubation period which lasts roughly for 3-6 days, your child will first show signs of a fever, followed by a sore throat. As these symptoms are common for many infections, you’ll be able to spot whether or not it’s hand-foot-and-moth disease by the sores in the mouth and rashes on the hands and feet which will show up 1-2 days after the fever begins.

Mouth sores can make it hard for children to swallow, so be sure they get enough water and nutrition and making it easy to swallow meals and warm liquids.

What do you do if your child gets hand, foot and mouth disease? 

There is no treatment or vaccine for this viral infection and in normal cases, the fever and symptoms will subside within 7-10 days. You should contact your doctor if you feel your child is getting worse after a few days of the outbreak. However, there are a few ways to ease the pain:

  • Pain relievers.
  • Consider allowing your child to have an ice cream or popsicle as it helps relieve the soreness in the throat.

How can I prevent my child from getting hand, foot and mouth disease?

There’s no specific treatment or medication to be taken as a precaution for hand, foot and mouth disease. However, these minor precaution could help minimize the transfer of the virus:

Wash hands frequently: Have your kids wash their hands frequently and carefully. Always use soap, disinfectants or even wet wipes to help kill the germs and avoid the disease from spreading.

Use a disinfectant: Because hand-foot-and-mouth-disease is transmitted through touch, it is best to always ensure that the common areas used by many kids are disinfected. Make sure that the toys are cleaned before different kids use them and that the nursery or school follows a strict cleaning schedule.

Enforce good hygiene: Teach your kids how to practice good hygiene and stay clean at all times. Try to avoid using public restrooms as much as possibles or to disinfect the toilet seat and tap before using it.

Avoid close contact with other kids: Tell your kids to avoid hugs, kisses and close contact with other kids. This is because most viruses are transferred by close contact. If your child is infected, it is best to isolate them as the virus is contagious.

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