Every parent knows that when their child picks up a toy that their classmates just put down, they could also be picking up something else. Germs are everywhere! You can pick up a cold or the flu just by touching the counter at the coffee shop. But colds and flu aren’t the only illnesses to look out for. There’s also hand-foot-and-mouth disease.
You may have heard of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), which infects certain kinds of farm animals. It’s important to note that hand-foot-and-mouth disease has nothing to do with cattle or sheep. The virus that causes FMD in animals is unrelated to the one that usually causes hand-foot-mouth (HFMD) in humans: the coxsackievirus.
Humans become infected with coxsackievirus through contact with another person’s saliva, mucus, or droplets from a cough or sneeze. Symptoms of an HFMD infection include
- sore throat
- a general feeling of malaise or irritability
- loss of appetite
- painful mouth sores that make swallowing difficult
- a red rash on the hands and feet that sometimes evolves into blisters.
Who gets HFMD?
HFMD usually strikes children age 10 and under, especially those in daycare or school settings where all viruses can be tough to contain. It can, however, infect adults as well. HFMD can be prevented just like other childhood illnesses like the common cold: through frequent hand washing, keeping hands away from your eyes and mouth, covering coughs and sneezes, and proper disinfection procedures in the classroom or daycare center.
Is HFMD dangerous?
We see hand-foot-and-mouth infections mostly in the summer and fall. Like other common childhood illnesses, it usually lasts about 7-10 days and doesn’t need a doctor’s care. However, if your child doesn’t feel better after a few days or they show signs of dehydration such as headache, dizziness, and low urine output, consult your physician.
Finally, if a rash on your child’s feet doesn’t go away, gets worse, or causes painful blisters, we can help. Contact expert podiatrists Dr. Chanda L. Day-Houts and Dr. Heidi M. Christie at Montgomery Foot Care Specialists. We treat foot problems of all kinds in patients of all ages at our office in Montgomery County, Alabama. Call us in Montgomery at (334) 396-3668 or make an appointment online.