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What is Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease?

What are the symptoms? What are the treatments?


Sometimes confused with foot and mouth (the disease that affects livestock), hand, foot and mouth disease is a completely different illness. Caused by a type of virus called enterovirus, it's usually quite mild, although very contagious, and is characterized by a rash of spots on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. It can sometimes spread to the legs and buttocks.

The disease is commonest amongst under-10s, although it's not unknown in older children and adults. Generally speaking, the older the patient, the milder the symptoms.

What are the symptoms of Hand, foot and mouth disease?

The main symptom is a rash of flat or raised spots, some blistered, on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. It's not itchy but is very specific. You can also develop mouth ulcers and a sore throat and fever, and feel generally under the weather. Lots of people feel quite well, though. In rare cases, hand, foot and mouth can progress to mild viral meningitis, from which most people make a complete recovery, although it can take time. What are the treatments and remedies of Hand, foot and mouth disease? Hand, foot and mouth usually clears up without any treatment in 7-10 days. Paracetamol or ibuprofen can help ease discomfort and bring down a high temperature. Eating soft, cold foods such as ice cream and chilled yogurt can help ease the pain of mouth ulcers.

This guide

This article is not meant to substitute medical advice provided by a practicing medical professional - if you have any concerns, contact your physician immediately.

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