Everything You Need To Know About Hand Foot And Mouth Disease

Hand, foot and mouth disease is a mild illness that can affect people of all ages, however, it is prevalent among children due to its contagious nature.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is a mild illness that can affect people of all ages, however, it is prevalent among children due to its contagious nature. Hand, foot and mouth disease cannot be caught from an animal and is in no way connected to “foot and mouth disease” which affects cattle, sheep and pigs.
It is an airborne virus that is spread via bodily fluids such as when someone sneezes or coughs around you. In other cases, the virus lives on objects and we become contaminated by touching these objects and then allowing it to travel to our body through our mouth.

It involves a rash that presents itself on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet but the rash is not itchy in nature. In some cases, the person will feel unwell and generally under-the-weather but there may be no other symptoms.

The illness is usually short in nature and generally requires no medical treatment. As it is viral, the body usually clears it naturally within about a week.
However, symptoms may be stronger for a child than an adult.
They may experience a high temperature as well as a sore throat and generally feeling unwell. A couple of days after the virus has reached, there may be noticeable small red spots in the mouth or throat as well as on your hands and feet.
The spots within the mouth and throat can take on a more ulcer-like form which can very uncomfortable and leads to children having difficulties with eating and drinking. It is recommended to keep your child off school until the symptoms have stopped. This will help to stop the spread of the virus throughout the class and school also.

Hand, foot and mouth disease can usually be diagnosed quite easily. When a child presents to the GP with cold-like symptoms and a non-itchy rash on their hands and feet, there is a strong chance that it will be hand, foot and mouth disease due to its prevalence in children aged ten and under.
Your doctor will ask about the symptoms and study how they appeared. This can make it easier to map out and pinpoint the virus. In some cases mouth ulcers and spots in the mouth and tongue can be indicative of something different and a swab sample may be taken and sent for inspection.

If you are pregnant and have contracted hand, foot and mouth disease there is a chance that it can spread to the baby but babies who are born with this disease usually experience very mild symptoms and cope with it very well.

Medication is usually not prescribed for this disease due to its viral nature, however, your GP may recommend medication to manage the symptoms. Paracetamol may be given to help control the fever that the virus may have brought with it.
In older children, a mouthwash may be recommended to relieve the pain of mouth ulcers. In a small number of cases the sores can become infected and in this case, your GP may prescribe antibiotics to treat that infection specifically.

Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.


Tracey Quinn

Proud mum of two who got married on Don't Tell The Bride and had an accidental home-birth (loves a good story). She's passionate about breastfeeding, positive thinking & all things cosy.

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