Hand-foot-and-mouth disease, or HFMD, is caused by a virus. The viruses that usually cause hand-foot-and-mouth are named coxsackievirus a16 and enterovirus 71. In fact, you might hear your child’s doctor refer to it as the coxsackie virus. Symptoms include ulcers, or sores, inside or around the mouth and a rash or blisters on the hands, feet, legs, or buttocks. And while it’s not pleasant, it also isn’t serious.
Anyone can get the disease, but children under age 10 are most likely to catch it. You can take steps to ease the symptoms while it runs its course, though.
Your child can catch hand-foot-and-mouth through contact with someone who has it, or from something that’s been in contact with the virus, like a toy, tabletop, or doorknob. It tends to spread easily in the summer and autumn.
Early symptoms may include fever and a sore throat (in younger kids fever and decreased eating or drinking). Painful blisters similar to cold sores can show up on the inside of your child’s mouth (usually in the back portion of the mouth) or tongue.
They might get a rash on the palms of their hands or the soles of their feet a day or two after the first symptoms appear. This rash may turn into blisters. Flat spots or sores may pop up on the knees, elbows, or buttocks. They could have all of these symptoms, or only one or two. Mouth sores can make it hurt to swallow, so be sure your child gets enough water and calories.
You can help reduce the risk of HFMD in kindergartens or at home by using Liquid GermXit® to wipe down high hand contact areas. It can also be sprayed on non porous toys and even sprayed on to hands after washing.