Font Size
A
A
A
1
...

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

What is Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease?

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common childhood illness caused by a virus. The illness most often occurs in the spring and fall and is most frequently seen in young children, infants, and toddlers. It is characterized by fever and a blister-like rash affecting the palms of the hands and soles of the feet along with blisters inside the mouth. (It is unrelated to foot and mouth disease, which affects livestock.)

What Causes Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease?

  • Hand, foot, and mouth disease is generally caused by coxsackievirus A-16, which is a member of the enterovirus family.
  • There are other types of enteroviruses that can cause the symptoms as well, but these are less common.

Children usually become infected with the virus from other children in an fecal-oral pattern; that is, infection is acquired from exposure to infected fecal material or oral secretions (nasal discharge, saliva, etc.).

The incubation period (time between exposure and symptoms) is usually five days.

Picture of characteristic rash and blisters of hand foot and mouth disease
Picture of characteristic rash and blisters of hand foot and mouth disease
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/13/2015

Must Read Articles Related to Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

Coxsackievirus
Coxsackievirus Coxsackievirus infection is spread from person to person when an infected person does not cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing or touches someone with un...learn more >>
Fever in Children
Fever in Children Fever is defined as a rectal temperature over 100.4 F or 38 C. Fever isn't life-threatening unless it is persistently high -- greater than a 107 F rectal temper...learn more >>
Rash
Rash A rash is a visible skin outbreak. Examples of noninfectious rashes include eczema, psoriasis, contact dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, rosacea, hives, and al...learn more >>

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease Treatment

There is no specific treatment for hand, foot, and mouth disease. Supportive care, including fever management, and prevention of dehydrationare the primary goals. Occasionally, "magic mouthwash" is prescribed by the provider. This is a mix of several oral liquid medications, generally including a topical anesthetic and Benadryl. This is then applied to the mouth ulcers to decrease the pain associated with the oral lesions, decrease the inflammatory response, and encourage the affected infant to increase oral intake.



Medical Dictionary