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It seems that with the new school year, disease always finds a way to make it into your home. Sniffles coughs and colds are frequented, along with sore throats and fevers. One disease that made its way into our house this year was hand foot and mouth disease. It was tricky because it does mimic the symptoms of other diseases, and can be mistaken. What exactly is hand foot and mouth? What do you do if your child catches it?
What is Hand Foot and Mouth Disease?
According to scientific and medical sources, like this one, hand foot and mouth is a viral infection that is usually caused by coxsackievirus. It is very contagious, mostly for kids under the age of 5, but adults can get it too. I managed to catch it when my baby came down with it and let me tell you, it isn’t fun! Thankfully, most cases are mild nature.
What Causes Hand Foot and Mouth?
As previously mentioned, it is caused by a viral infection. This can be picked up in the snot, spit and feces of infected kids, as well as off of surfaces that an infected person may have touched. It can also come from droplets in the air from coughing or sneezing. Also, it can come from an infected person’s sores. This makes it super easy for children to pass along, especially if they are not old enough to be washing their hands on their own.
How Can You Treat Hand Foot and Mouth?
Unfortunately, there is no way to treat the disease. You can only treat the symptoms. This means that you can only give your kids or yourself something to dull the pain and unpleasant effects of the disease. Some ways to treat this are:
- Tylenol or Tempura for treatment of pain and fever
- Calamine lotion to keep skin hydrated and keep skin irritation down.
- Oatmeal baths to help with irritation.
- Cold foods, such as ice cream, popsicles or ice to help throat.
How Long Does Hand Foot and Mouth Last? What Are the Symptoms?
Usually, from 7-10 days. You may only have one symptom, or all of them, depending on person to person. Usually, they start like the flu and develop into the sores. Common symptoms are:
- Body Aches
- Feeling generally unwell.
- Spots on the hands, feet and outside/inside of the mouth. However, this isn’t always the case, it CAN spread to legs, knees, elbows, and trunk. In Soph’s case where she was so young, it spread to her whole body.
Dangers To Watch For:
- If the Child’s fever gets too high or lasts more than a few days.
- If the child gets a severe headache combined with a stiff neck.
- Dehydration. This frequently occurs because of a fever combined with a sore throat, making children and adults not want to drink the necessary amount of water.
- If the child isn’t seeming to get better after a week.
- If the child fails the clear glass test. Take a clear glass, and press it against their spots. If their spots disappear, that is good. If they don’t, it could possibly be meningitis, which is a serious disease.
Prevention of Hand Foot and Mouth:
- Regular Hand Washing: This prevents the spread of germs.
- Keeping your house and other areas clean and sanitized.
- Keeping sick people isolated to prevent the spread of disease.
Hand foot and mouth can be painful! It isn’t fun. This is why it is important to recognize the signs of sickness and keep indoors to prevent the spread. It also is helpful to treat the symptoms when they appear. Always monitor your children and if they aren’t getting better, or are getting worse, make sure to get them checked out by a physician!
Mom blogger, job coach, ESL teacher and mom to my little girl.