Skip to content

    Children's Health

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Facts About Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease

    Hand-foot-and-mouth disease, or HFMD, is caused by a virus. Symptoms include ulcers, or sores, inside or around the mouth, and a rash or blisters on the hands, feet, legs, or buttocks. And while it's not pleasant, it also isn't serious.

    Anyone can get the disease, but children under 10 are most likely to catch it. You can take steps to ease the symptoms while it runs its course, though.

    mh_capd_fig5-38.tif

    What Causes It?

    The viruses that cause hand-foot-and-mouth are named coxsackievirus a16 and enterovirus 71. In fact, you might hear your child’s doctor refer to it as the coxsackie virus.

    Your child can catch hand-foot-and-mouth through contact with someone who has it, or from something that's been in contact with the virus, like a toy, tabletop, or doorknob. It tends to spread easily in the summer and fall.

    Symptoms

    Early symptoms may include fever and a sore throat. Painful blisters similar to cold sores can show up on the inside of your child's mouth or on his tongue.

    He might get a rash on the palms of his hands or the soles of his feet a day or two after the first symptoms appear. This rash may turn into blisters. Flat spots or sores may pop up on the knees, elbows, or buttocks. He could have all of these symptoms, or only one or two.

    Mouth sores can make it hurt to swallow, so be sure your child gets enough water and calories.

    How Is It Diagnosed?

    Your doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and look at any sores or rashes. This is usually enough to decide if it’s hand-foot-and-mouth disease with no extra tests. But he might take a throat swab or a stool or blood sample to be sure.

    Today on WebMD

    child with red rash on cheeks
    What’s that rash?
    plate of fruit and veggies
    How healthy is your child’s diet?
     
    smiling baby
    Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
    Middle school band practice
    Understanding your child’s changing body.
     

    worried kid
    fitArticle
    jennifer aniston
    Slideshow
     
    Measles virus
    Article
    sick child
    Slideshow
     

    babyapp
    New
    Child with adhd
    Slideshow
     
    rl with friends
    fitSlideshow
    Child Coughing or Sneezing into Elbow
    Article