Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease continues to be a concern for parents and daycare providers. So what is it? and how do we deal with it?
What is it?
A mild, harmless viral infection that causes fever, mouth ulcers and tiny blisters on the hands and feet. It occurs mainly in children 6 months to 4 years, although we have seen some children outside of this age group.
It is caused by the Coxsackie A-16 virus. It is spread the same way the regular virus is spread, by droplets. The rash is not contagious
-Fever, usually around 39C or 102F
-Small blisters or red spots located on the palms, soles and webs between fingers and toes.
-May have some blisters in the buttock area.
-Small painful ulcers in the mouth, especially on tongue and sides of mouth.
1. Fever medicine – Give paracetamol or ibuprofen for fever over 39C (102F) or for severe mouth pain
2. Cold fluids – Juices of liquids that have been put in the freezer to get slushy
3. Avoid citrus, salty or spicy foods as these may burn the child’s mouth.
4. Moisturize the rash area to help with itching.
5. An antihistamine may be prescribed by your doctor if there is discomfort from itching.
What to expect:
-The fever usually lasts 2-3 days,
-The mouth ulcers resolve by 7 days
-The rash on the hands and feet lasts 10 days. There may be some peeling after.
-Can return to child care or school after the fever is gone (usually 2-3 days).
-The rash is not contagious.
When to call the doctor:
–When there are signs of dehydration such as decreased urine output or no tears.
-If the fever persists for more than 3-5 days.
-If there is any neck stiffness or general lethargy.