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What You Should Know With The Sudden Rise In Cases Of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

Category: Pediatrics, Safety

Just the name of this viral infection is scary enough for parents of young children to be concerned. For the most part, though, it is not usually dangerous.

All the same, there are certain facts you should know with the sudden rise in cases of hand, foot, and mouth disease to protect your family. Children five and younger are at the highest risk, but teens and adults can also be susceptible.

Know The Symptoms Of Hand, Foot, And Mouth Disease Hand foot and mouth disease

Some of the earliest signs of this viral infection are a fever, sore throat and lethargy. Your child will be fatigued and lose their appetite. The definitive symptoms are the rashes, blisters and sores found mainly in the mouth and on feet and hands. These sores are not itchy, but they are painful.

Once the blisters make their appearance you can expect a high fever, sore throat, vomiting, muscle aches and diarrhea in many cases. The infection will usually run its course in 5 – 10 days.

Know How To Treat Hand, Foot, And Mouth Disease

There is no cure for viral infections, so the best that can be done for young ones who contract this disease is to make them as comfortable as possible.  

  • Give children ibuprofen or acetaminophen for discomfort
  • Suggest drinking cold milk or water including sucking on ice for pain
  • Avoid anything acidic
  • Give them soft foods only

Dehydration is an issue for young children since the mouth sores make it uncomfortable to eat and drink liquids. See a medical professional if you think your child might be dehydrated, as they may need an IV treatment.

Know How To Avoid Infection

This is a highly contagious disease spread by bodily fluids. Saliva, fluid from blisters, feces, and water particles from coughing and sneezing are all ways to spread the infection. Hard surfaces like table tops, toys, and of course being around other children at daycare and preschool can increase the infection rate.

Keep your children home if they have any symptoms. Teach them to carefully wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading or getting the infection. Of course, this is difficult with babies and very young children, but most toddlers can easily learn this important habit if it is properly reinforced.

It is also important to remember that children can still be contagious even after their symptoms subside.

Know How To Recognize More Significant Complications

Although not a dangerous infection, there have been new strains of the viral group which are affecting older children and adults. A very high fever could indicate something more serious. Hand, foot, and mouth disease complications can lead to infections in the heart, negative affects of the brain and spinal fluid, and progressive development into meningitis or encephalitis.

If your child is not improving from hand, foot, and mouth disease after about 10 days, it might be time to see a pediatrician. To schedule an appointment at Pediatrics of Northeastern Pennsylvania, please contact our office today at (570) 346-1464.

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