Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFM): even the name sounds ominous. It definitely doesn’t sound like something you, your children, or other members of your family want to come down with. But what exactly is this disease, and how do you get it? HFM Disease is a viral illness that is most common in children under five years old. While it can be contracted by older children or even adults, this is less common.
If you’re looking to learn more information about HFM Disease, read through our list of five frequently asked questions. The answers to these questions should give you the knowledge you are looking for to help you understand this disease, learn how to treat it, discover ways to avoid getting it, as well as other important facts about it. Being prepared and knowing about this disease can help you manage the symptoms if you or another member of your family contracts it.
1: What are the symptoms of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease?
A: There are a few different symptoms to look for if you think you or someone in your care has HFM Disease. When you are first coming down with HFMDisease, it is common for you to have a fever, sore throat, or less of an appetite than you typically have. A few days later, you may develop sores in your mouth. These sores are typically located towards the back of your mouth and are often quite painful and may blister. In addition to sores in your mouth (or sometimes instead of them), you may also develop a rash on your hands or feet. The rash looks like red spots and may have blisters. In some cases, the rash may spread to a person’s elbows, knees, genital area, or butt. Each case of HFM disease is different. Many people don’t exhibit all of the symptoms. The disease is most common in younger children, but it is not impossible for older children or adults to contract it.
2: Is Hand Foot and Mouth Disease contagious?
A: Yes, Hand Foot and Mouth Disease is contagious. It is caused by a virus from the Enterovirus group. If a person is infected with HFM Disease, it means that the virus will be present in the fluids from their blisters, their saliva and mucus, and their stool. If you come in contact with any of these, you could catch HFM Disease. Some of the more typical ways the disease is spread include coming into close contact with a person who has the disease, touching an object that has been contaminated and then touching your face, breathing in the air where an infected person has just sneezed or coughed, or coming into contact with the feces of an infected person and touching your face before washing your hands.
3: How long are you typically infected when you get Hand Foot and Mouth Disease?
A: Each case of HFM Disease is different, so the amount of time one person has the disease may be different from another person’s experiences. Typically, the disease will last for around a week to ten days. The first few days of the disease typically only involve a fever or sore throat, while the characteristic rash tends to develop a few days into the disease. If you still have symptoms after 10 days, you will want to make an appointment with your doctor.
4: What are the ways you can treat Hand Foot and Mouth Disease?
A: Unfortunately, a medication designed to treat HFM Disease has not been created yet. Often, the best thing you can do if you have this disease is to treat the symptoms. You can take fever-reducing medications to help counteract the symptoms related to your fever.
To help relieve the pain associated with sores in your mouth, there are different types of sprays or mouthwashes that can be used. One of these mouthwashes is known as “Magic Mouthwash.” You can make this at home. Then, rub the solution around the inside of your mouth and your lips before you eat to help reduce the pain you experience. Check recipes online to make your own Magic Mouthwash.
If you have HFM Disease, you will also want to make sure that you stay hydrated. Dehydration often occurs alongside this disease since the sores in a person’s mouth can make it uncomfortable to swallow water. If you are having a really hard time drinking enough fluids, talk with your doctor. They may recommend IV fluids to ensure you stay hydrated.
5: How can you prevent getting Hand Foot and Mouth Disease?
A: While a vaccine to prevent Hand Foot and Mouth Disease has not yet been developed, there are a few steps you can take to protect you and others from getting it. Since one way HFM Disease is spread is by coming in contact with an infected person, it is important to stay away from anyone you know if infected. HFM Disease can also be spread by coming in contact with something that was touched by an infected person and then touching your face or mouth. This is why it is always good to wash your hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom or being out in public. The CDC suggests proper hand washing. It should last for a minimum of 20 seconds and use appropriate amounts of soap.