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About hand, foot and mouth disease

Published in Infectious Diseases, For the Health of It Author: Penelope Smith,MD

Hand, foot and mouth disease is a contagious disease that normally impacts young children — but, at times, can affect older children and adults, too.

The symptoms of the condition — fever, sore throat, reduced appetite — are similar to flu. But after one or two days, hand, foot and mouth disease can show red spots or blisters in one’s mouth, on one’s hands, feet, knees, elbows, buttocks or genital area.

The viruses that spread hand, foot and mouth can be spread during close personal contact with an infected person. It can be spread by coughs and sneezes or by changing the diapers of a child with the illness.

Hand, foot and mouth is most contagious during the first week of the illness. If you or your child is diagnosed with the illness — talk to a health care provider about how long to stay home and/or away from daycare or other children.

To further help avoid the spread of infecting others, take care to wash your hands often with soap and water. Especially after changing diapers or using the bathroom. If your child has the illness, take care to also frequently clean touched surfaces and his or her toys.

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