Hand Foot Mouth Disease: What You Need To Know

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Hands, mouth, feet and toes, feet and toes! Only kidding, we’re not singing karaoke today. Instead we’re talking about Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease(HFMD). Which is only just a little bit less fun. Just kidding…

 

The basics? It’s caused by a viral infection, and it’s much more common than you would think. It mainly occurs in children under 5 because their immunity systems aren’t completely armed and loaded yet. Typically, the condition is not serious, lasting on average for 7-10 days.

 

How contagious is it? Much like the flu, if you’ve got HFMD you’re most contagious during illness. Symptoms? Pretty hard to miss. Think cheetah. Or giraffe… We’re talkin’ spots, spots, and more spots. Your little one will break out in a rash of flat red spots that blister on hands, feet, and mouth areas. If the spots don’t clue you in, other signs to look out for include: fever, reduced appetite and a sore throat.

 

Now we know what you’re thinking. “How do I prevent this?!” Well, it turns out there’s no specific preventative treatmentfor HFMD at this time. Maintaining good hygiene is the best thing to practice in order to prevent these viral infections. Washing your little one’s hands with soap and water for 20 seconds should be done often throughout the day (scrub a dub dub!) If you need to manage symptoms, OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen can be used to relieve that pesky fever. If you notice your little one hasn’t improved within a week, take them to see your pediatrician. The good news? Generally, the virus goes away on its own in about a week anyways. The only spots you’ll be seeing there-on-out is if you’re visiting the zoo or on an African Safari. Hooray!

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