November 30, 2015
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Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD)

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Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) facts

  • Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a viral infection.
  • Hand, foot, and mouth disease produces a characteristic rash on the hands, feet, and in the mouth.
  • Hand, foot, and mouth disease often occurs in the spring and fall.
  • Hand, foot, and mouth disease is common in children, particularly preschoolers.
  • Hand, foot, and mouth disease usually is mild and over within a week. Treatment is directly toward relief of symptoms (fever and sore throat).

What is hand, foot, and mouth (HFMD) disease?

Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a viral infection characterized by fever and a typical rash most frequently seen on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and inside the mouth. It should not be confused with foot (hoof) and mouth disease that affects cattle, sheep, and swine.

What are the symptoms and signs of hand, foot, and mouth disease?

HFMD is most commonly an illness of the spring and fall seasons. Initial symptoms of mild fever (101 F-102 F) and malaise are followed within one or two days by a characteristic rash. Small (2 mm-3 mm) red spots that quickly develop into small blisters (vesicles) appear on the palms, soles, and oral cavity. The gums, tongue, and inner cheek are most commonly involved in the mouth. The foot lesions may also involve the lower calf region and rarely may appear on the buttocks. Oral lesions are commonly associated with a sore throat, uncomfortable eating and drinking, and as a result, a diminished appetite. It is very rare for an infected child to become dehydrated due to oral discomfort.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/10/2015


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