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Hand, Foot & Mouth



Hand, foot, and mouth disease or HFM is a viral infection that causes red painful blisters in the mouth, throat, hands, feet, and diaper area. HFM is common and is easily spread through contact with unwashed hands, saliva, feces, fluid from the blisters, or nasal mucus. HFM can affect anyone, but children under the age of 5 are most at risk. Outbreaks are more common in summer and autumn.

The symptoms of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFM) include:

  • Red blisters with a small bubble of fluid on top
  • Rash that looks like flat red spots or red blisters on the palms and soles
  • Painful, red, blister-like lesions on the tongue, gums and inside of the cheeks
  • Pink rash on other parts of the body, like the buttocks and thighs
  • Irritability
  • Drooling and may want to drink only cold beverages
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches, and other flu-like symptoms
  • Loss of appetite

(Note: some kids may not experience all these symptoms)

To prevent the spread of the disease:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, especially before eating, before handling food, after using the bathroom or changing a baby’s diaper. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are infected. If you or your child is infected, stay home from work or school until the symptoms are gone. 
  • Disinfect high traffic areas and surfaces with soap and water, then with a solution of chlorine bleach and water. This is very important in child care centers, schools, and playgrounds. 
  • Show your children or students how to practice proper hygiene and not to put their hands or objects in their mouths. 

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is generally not life threatening, but can be very painful. A ModernMD clinic near you if your child is:

  • Experiencing symptoms for the first time
  • Not showing any signs of improvement or is showing worsened symptoms
  • Experiencing pain affecting their ability to eat or sleep
  • Remains very irritable
  • Sluggish
  • Showing signs of dehydration

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