Avoiding Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

Avoiding Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

We’re in peak hand, foot and mouth disease season right now! That’s right, this virus becomes more prominent in the summer and fall. While anyone can get this contagious illness, it is most common among infants and children.  And it spreads easily. So be especially aware of daycare centers, where children are assembled together. 

Let’s take a closer look at hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) so your family can steer clear of it! 

How is Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease Spread?

There are number of ways this virus can spread from one child to another. Unfortunately, HFMD can simply be in the air.  If an infected child coughs or sneezes, that’s all that is needed to extend the virus. With that in mind, it’s also possible to get it through physical contact with an infected person. Even touching a contaminated surface can do the trick. For instance, hugging an infected person or changing an infected baby’s diaper that contains feces can cause you to get HFMD. 

Recognizing the Symptoms

Since hand, foot and mouth disease is especially common in children younger than five years old, parents will be relieved to know that it is usually not serious. It almost always fades in about a week. Still, it’s best to know what this illness looks like so you can avoid this discomfort when possible.

HFMD can be contagious even when there aren’t any symptoms. When symptoms do show, they most commonly cause a fever and mouth sores. Other symptoms may include a skin rash, reduced appetite and a general feeling of illness.

It often starts with a fever, then it progresses to mouth sores that blister.  At times, a rash may develop on the hands, feet and other body parts like the knees and elbows.

Treating Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

There is no specific treatment for HFMD, only for its symptoms. Over-the-counter fever medicines can manage a high temperature, mouthwashes can relieve oral pain, and drinking plenty of fluids can prevent dehydration.

Avoid Getting and Spreading HFMD

Remember these easy solutions for stopping the spread of hand, foot and mouth disease. 

Disinfect Surfaces. Since you can pick up HFMD from an infected surface, it’s best to wipe down any commonly used areas like doorknobs and toys. 

Wash Your Hands. Similarly, you’ll want to make sure your children wash their hands often. Quickly darting their hands under the faucet isn’t enough. Instead, they should really take the time to scrub with soap for 20 seconds before rinsing them off. 

Avoid Close Contact. We know that hugs and kisses from your little one are hard to resist. However, if they have or recently had HFMD, they should refrain from too much contact for now, especially with other children. 

Stay Home. If your kids have been infected with HFMD, the best thing you can do to stop the virus from spreading is to stay home. Keeping your kids out of daycare or school until they’re all better will help to prevent others from catching the illness.

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