PUBLIC HEALTH FACT SHEET
What is Hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease?
Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is an illness caused by a virus. It occurs most frequently among children under 10, although adults can get it. Outbreaks in schools, day-care centers, preschools, and nurseries are common. More cases are seen in the summer and early fall.
How is it spread?
Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is spread by direct contact with nose and throat discharges, saliva, and fluid from blisters that usually develop 5-7 days after infection. It is also spread by contact with stool from the infected person. It may be spread as long as the sores are present, and as long as several weeks in the stool.
How is it treated?
There is no specific treatment for the virus; however, doctors may give medication to help with the symptoms.
How can we prevent Hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease?
- Encourage good hand washing and personal hygiene.
- Wash soiled clothing, and discard used tissues.
- Exclude infected children from day-care or school until fever has disappeared and new sores are not developing.
HAND, FOOT, & MOUTH DISEASE SYMPTOMS
- Begins with mild fever, malaise, poor appetite, and frequently a sore throat.
- Small, blister-like sores on the inside of mouth, lasting up to 10 days.
- Similar sores resembling a rash (with flat or raised red spots, some with blisters) on the palms, fingers and soles of the feet.
- A fever is sometimes present.
- May only have mouth ulcers or rash.