Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is a mild, contagious viral infection usually seen in children 5 or younger. The disease spreads through contact with an infected person’s mucous, saliva, other bodily fluids, or through coughing and sneezing.
Symptoms of hand-foot-and-mouth disease include fever, sore throat, general discomfort, and loss of appetite. Individuals with the disease also may have painful sores in the mouth, as well as a rash of red spots on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Adults who experience hand-foot-and-mouth disease may not have the sores or rash but can still spread the virus. Cases of hand-foot-and-mouth disease are typically mild.
Hand-foot-and-mouth disease can be prevented by practicing good hygiene, hand-washing, and disinfecting common areas. There is no specific treatment for hand-foot-and-mouth disease, but pain medications can be bought over-the-counter to help relieve the pain from mouth sores, which often make it painful to eat and drink. To make eating and drinking easier, it is recommended to drink cold beverages, avoid acidic, spicy, and salty foods, and to eat soft foods. Rinsing your mouth with warm water after meals may also help with discomfort.
If you believe you or a family member has been infected with hand-foot-and-mouth disease, please seek medical attention and discuss an appropriate course of action with your doctor. Those infected should be isolated until they no longer display active signs of infection.
Description Last Updated: Aug 20, 2018