Symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease

Hand, foot and mouth disease symptoms include the small red sores that often appear in the mouth and rashes that appear on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet and that give the disease its name.

Hand, foot and mouth disease symptoms include the small red sores that often appear in the mouth and rashes that appear on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet and that give the disease its name.

Hand, foot and mouth disease can be spread through kissing, hugging or sharing food and drinks. The disease also can be transmitted through coughs, sneezes or contact with germs from a baby’s diaper. The usual period from initial infection to onset of signs and symptoms is three to six days.

A fever often is the first sign, followed by a sore throat and sometimes a poor appetite and general sick feeling. Body sores develop a few days later.

There’s no specific treatment. Over-the-counter medications can relieve fever and the pain caused by mouth sores. Never give aspirin to children. Dehydration is a risk, as the mouth sores can make it painful to swallow, so take steps to make sure the sick child drinks enough.

There are steps to limit exposure. Frequent hand-washing and avoiding close contact with people who are infected may help reduce you and your child’s risk of infection. And if your child is displaying the symptoms, keep them home.

When to contact your pediatrician

If your child is not drinking enough, symptoms are severe or don’t improve after 10 days, or if your child is very young, especially under 6 months, contact your pediatrician.
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Hand, foot and mouth disease symptoms

Hand, foot and mouth disease symptoms can include all of the following or just some of them.

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Feeling of being unwell (malaise)
  • Painful red, blister-like lesions on the tongue, gums and inside of the cheeks
  • A red rash, without itching but sometimes with blistering, on the palms and soles (and sometimes the buttocks)
  • Irritability in infants and toddlers
  • Loss of appetite


Norton Children's Medical Group
Pediatricians

Norton Children’s Medical Group

Norton Children’s Medical Group, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, offers pediatric primary care at more than 20 locations throughout Louisville and Southern Indiana.
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