Hand foot mouth disease is an infection that can cause a rash on the skin around or in the mouth (as painful sores), on the hands and on the feet. It can also appear on the buttocks or genital area of young children in more severe cases. Other symptoms of hand foot mouth include lack of energy, trouble eating, or even fever. Hand foot mouth usually affects children under age 10, but adults can also contract this as well.
Read on for more information about hand foot mouth and how it can be treated.
How It's Contracted
Hand foot mouth disease is spread through close contact (with blisters), saliva, fecal matter or from contaminated objects or surfaces. This disease can spread easily from person to person, and can be very painful if the rash spreads to the inside of the mouth. The blisters in the mouth can be extremely painful making it difficult to eat or swallow.
Preventing contraction of this disease is important. If you have young children, it's important to have your child wash their hands thoroughly. You should also wash your hands throughout the day often, especially after changing your child at home or changing your child at a public changing station. Germs are everywhere, so always wash your hands after being anywhere public.
Preventing The Spread
Prevent the spread of this disease by keeping your child home from school if he has blisters or open sores. The open sores can easily spread this disease to other children or adults, so keep your child at home until the sores are healed. You'll need to clean all of your child's toys using a bleach water solution. Clean all other surfaces in your home including door handles, toilet handles, faucets and counters.
Be sure everyone in your family covers their mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing (cough/sneeze in the crook of your arm). Wash hands thoroughly using soap and water, and wash for at least 30 seconds to remove germs. Also be sure not to touch your face with unwashed hands.
Treating Hand Foot Mouth
If you suspect hand foot mouth, be sure to see a physician right away to prevent it spreading further throughout your household or to others. To help with the pain associated with hand foot mouth, you can take aspirin, do not give your child aspirin. A children's pain reliever should only be given under a doctor's order. Your physician may prescribe a topical ointment or antibiotics as well.
You can help treat the rash at home by taking an oatmeal bath or using epsom salts in the bath. Be sure not to itch the rash to prevent the spread.
To help ease the pain from the mouth sores (if you have them), you can eat popsicles.
Hand foot mouth disease usually affects children, but it can plague adults as well. If you suspect hand foot mouth disease, get to your physician or a walk in clinic like MED7 Urgent Care Center right away.