Pediatric Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease Specialist Q&A
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common viral infection in children under 5 years old, but anyone can get it. Our Pediatric specialist Dr. Maria Nabong can evaluate and provide effective treatments. Call us today or book an appointment online. We have convenient locations in Scottsdale, AZ, and Glendale, AZ.
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Hand, foot, and mouth diseases are common amongst young children, as it is a very contagious but mild infection that shows symptoms of sores in the mouth and a rash can be found on the hands and feet. Hand, foot, and mouth diseases are commonly caused due to coxsackievirus. Coxsackievirus is part of the enterovirus family, these viruses are found to live in the human digestive tract. This virus can be easily spread from person to person due to unwashed hands, unwashed and contaminated surfaces by feces from the individuals who have not washed their hands. This virus can easily live on surfaces and hands for several days if not cleaned.
There is no specific treatment available to treat hand, foot, and mouth disease; however, frequent hand washing and avoiding close contact with individuals who have the virus can help to reduce the risk of your child becoming infected.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is highly contagious and can be spread through an infected person’s nose, and throat emissions including drool, saliva, or nasal mucus, fluid from oozing scabs or blisters, and feces.
Often children contract hand, foot, and mouth diseases through:
• Contact with respiratory precipitations which contain the virus particles after a sick person either coughs or sneezes
• Child touches the infected person by either hugging, kissing, sharing cups, or sharing eating utensils
• Child touching the infected child’s feces from diapers then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth
• Child touching objects and/or surfaces that have the virus already on them including toys, doorknobs, or surfaces like countertops, then beginning to touch their nose, eyes, or mouth.
The main causes of hand, foot, and mouth diseases if from being contracted through the enterovirus family, some of these viruses include:
• Coxsackievirus A16 – a most common cause of hand, foot, and mouth
• Coxsackievirus A6 – also causes hand, foot, and mouth and other more severe symptoms
• nterovirus 71 – while rare in the United States, it also causes hand, foot, and mouth outbreaks in East and Southeast Asia
Hand, foot, and mouth diseases can cause all of these signs and symptoms, or your child may only notice a few of them, each child that becomes infected with hands, foot, and mouth disease will see different symptoms, these symptoms include:
• Sore throat
• Feeling ill
• Red, painful, and blister-looking sores on the tongue, gums, and inside the cheeks
• Red rash that occurs without itching, some may notice blistering on the palms, soles, and on rare occurrences the buttocks
• Irritable (commonly seen in infants and toddlers)
• No appetite
Usually, children will have an interim period between becoming infected to signs and symptoms showcasing, on average this is three to six days. A fever is most often the first sign of hand, foot, and mouth diseases. Sore throat follows up the fever and can continue with poor appetite and feeling ill.
You may begin to see the sores in the mouth around the 2-day mark, followed up by a rash which is seen on the hands and feet, and on occasion the buttocks which can follow up 2 to 3 days after.
If you notice a sore occurring in the throat and back of the mouth, your child may have a different but related viral illness. Take your child in to see the pediatrician for diagnosis and possible treatment options available.
Many children get better on their own within 7 to 10 days after contracting hand, foot, and mouth disease. However, your child should see a healthcare provider if they are:
• Not getting enough fluids in their bodies to stay hydrated
• Symptoms from hand, foot, and mouth disease do not improve after 10 days
• Child has a noticeable weakened immune system
• Child’s symptoms start to become severe
• Child is quite young (very concerning if the child is under 6 months old)
If your child is showing symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease, contact KidsHealth Pediatrics today. For more information, call us or schedule an appointment. We have clinics located in Glendale and Scottsdale, Arizona, to serve you well! We serve patients from Glendale AZ, Scottsdale AZ, Tempe AZ, Mesa AZ, Paradise Valley AZ, and Phoenix AZ.
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