HAND, FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE (HFMD)

Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 4.36.58 PMWhat is HFMD ? HFMD is a common viral infection that usually affects children under the age of 5 years. According the the California Department of Public Health, HFMD is caused by a number of viruses including enterovirus 71, coxsackie virus A16 and a new strain called coxsackie virus A6.

The symptoms are: fever, sore throat, loss of appetite, and a feeling of being sick. A day or two after the fever begins, small red spots develop in the child’s mouth and on the inside of the cheeks, gums and tongue. This is followed by tiny painful blisters on the hands and feet. The new coxsackie virus A6 strain, causes a higher fever, a larger more severe rash with blister-like lesions covering the hands, arms, legs, buttocks and trunk.

HFMD is spread by sneezing, coughing, or contact with fluid from the blisters. The virus is often passed when an infected person touches someone else or a commonly touched surface, such as a door knob chair, or toys without washing their hands first. Symptoms usually resolve on their own within 10 days. If your child is diagnosed with HFMD, be sure he is kept home from childcare or preschool, as to not infect or risk other children.

Any child diagnosed with HFMD should be fever free and symptom free for a full 24 hours, with a Pediatrician’s note of release to return to child care.