Viral diseases: Hand, foot and mouth disease

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Hand, foot and mouth disease is characterized as a mild but contagious childhood condition triggered by various viruses. In most cases, the condition is caused by a strain of the Coxsackie virus. The name of this condition is derived from its blister-like rashes that typically manifests on the hands, feet and mouth.

Who are at risk?

Hand, foot and mouth disease is quite common and typically affects infants and young children below 10 years old.  Since this condition is highly contagious, it can oftentimes make teenagers and adults sick as well.

Indications of hand, foot and mouth disease

The primary symptoms of this viral condition include the following:

  • Fever
  • Diminished appetite
    Hand, foot and mouth disease
    Hand, foot and mouth disease is quite common and typically affects infants and young children below 10 years old.
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat

Take note that after 1-2 days when the first symptoms manifest, the blister-like rash will start to form on the hands, feet or mouth of the child.

Hand, foot and mouth disease spreads to others via direct exposure with discharges from the nose and throat of an infected individual. The disease also spreads via contact with the stool of the infected individual.

During the course of the illness, an individual is highly contagious during the first week and stays infectious until the blister-like rashes completely disappeared.


Always bear in mind that there is no specific treatment for hand, foot and mouth disease. On the other hand, the symptoms of the condition including the aches, fever and pain from the mouth sores can be managed.


There are several measures that must be observed in order to prevent or minimize the spread of hand, foot and mouth disease such the following:

  • Always wash hands often especially when changing diapers
  • Wash the clothing, bedding and other soiled items of the child
  • All contaminated surfaces should be disinfected with a water and bleach solution
  • The child should stay at home and avoid any group activity for the initial days of the illness.

It is important to note that hand, foot and mouth disease is different from foot-and-mouth disease. When it comes to foot-and-mouth disease, it only affects sheep, cattle and swine. Both diseases are not related in any way and triggered by different viruses.

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