Best 101 Guide on Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

A Complete guide on Hand foot and mouth disease.

The annoying, painful rashes are always not just rashes. They can be hand foot and mouth diseases. Please go through the article to find out more about it.

Summer season is always exciting for young children with all the indoor-outdoor games, carefree times, laughter, and fun. But it is also known for several infections and rashes in kids.

Even though you took all hygiene measures, your kid might end up getting a skin rash as they spend much time outdoors playing and are highly exposed to dust and heat.

Spotting Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease

It is widespread to get such rashes in kids during summertime. But, if you notice that your kid is having rashes everywhere in their hands, legs, and feet along with flu-like symptoms, it could be more than just a heat rash.

Your kid might be infected by hand foot and mouth disease (HFMD). Even though it is not a severe illness and would not create any severe complications, it can wreak havoc on your child’s health.

So, here in this article, let’s check out all the details related to this hand foot, and mouth disease and what steps you should take to keep the hands, legs, and feet healthy. As it will give you pure joy when clicking cool hand and feet pics with your children and posting them on social media during summer.

1. An Overview of Hand foot and Mouth Disease

Hand foot and mouth disease is a viral ailment that mainly affects children under ten years. Adults can also get this disease but, it is not very common. The hand foot and mouth disease can spread very quickly from one person to another because of the virus, which causes it to be highly contagious.

As the name suggests, hand-foot and mouth disease is characterized by rashes and blisters on your hands, feet, and around your mouth. The rashes can also occur in the genital area and inside your mouth.

Hand Foot and Mouth Disease, Animation

When you have hand foot and mouth disease, the rashes will be flat and red along with colorless blisters filled with fluid, and they are painful and itchy, which makes them super irritating.

The hand foot and mouth disease kicks in with normal fever, and a sore throat after one or two days, and in a few days, the rashes and blisters will begin to appear.

Hand foot and mouth disease is a viral infection mainly caused by viruses from the enterovirus family, primarily the coxsackievirus-A16 1and the enterovirus71. These two are the most common causes, while other viruses from the same group can also be responsible.

Even though it is most commonly seen in younger children, adults can also get infected with hand, foot, and mouth diseases. However, in the case of adults, most of the time, you won’t get a fever or any other symptoms. Also, HFMD 2in adults causes very itchy skin rashes, while it won’t be itchy but painful in kids.

The hand-foot-mouth disease is often mistaken for foot and mouth disease or hoof and mouth disease caused by a different virus and is affected in cattle and other cloven-hoofed livestock.

2. Symptoms of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment,

Symptoms of hand foot and mouth disease can occur within 3-7 days after you are infected with the virus.

Watch out for these symptoms to recognize them from a characteristic rash. It is important not to mistake a typical heat rash for a hand foot and mouth disease.

2.1. Fever and Other Flu-Like Symptoms:

When infected with hand foot and mouth disease, the first symptom you experience is fever and other flu-like symptoms such as muscle aches, nausea3, cough, sneeze, runny nose, body pain, and chills.

Sore throat after the fever begins. You might experience a sore throat. It is another primary symptom of hand foot and mouth disease. It creates irritation and pain in the throat.

2.2. Sores Inside the Mouth:

The mouth sores start to appear after a few days of fever and a sore throat has begun. Small sores will be formed in the back of your mouth, inner cheeks, and on your tongue.

Most of the time, the mouth sores become severe and cause herpangina. These ulcers will heal within seven days.

2.3. Rashes:

The fever and sore throat will be followed by rashes and blisters within a week after the infection. In a few days, your hands, legs, and outside the mouth area will be covered with painful rashes and blisters.

The rashes will be flat and red and blisters will be colorless and fluid.

2.4. Pain While Swallowing:

How to manage sore throat with pain while swallowing? - Dr. Sriram Nathan

Mouth ulcers and sore throat cause pain while swallowing foods and fluids.

Other significant symptoms include:

  • Feeling tired and unwell
  • Dehydration
  • Poor appetite
  • Weakened immune system
  • Irritability in infants

Severe symptoms that do not get better in a few days.

3. Ways of Spreading

The coxsackievirus, which causes the hand-foot-mouth disease is highly contagious and can spread quickly from one person to another through the following:

  • Fluid in blisters: the blisters will be filled with fluid, and this fluid might contain the virus; touching and scratching on the blisters 4cause these blisters to pop and fluid to come out. These fluids might have the virus which spreads the disease.
  • Discharges from the nose, saliva, or mucous.
  • Air contaminated by respiratory droplets from the infected person’s cough and sneeze.
  • Faces
  • Close contact with the infected person.
  • Contaminated surfaces and where an infected person has touched or used things.

4. Complications of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

Even though it is widespread, hand foot and mouth disease is not a severe illness. The only major complication caused by HFMD is dehydration. It rarely leads to any other serious complications.

Hand foot and mouth disease can lead to certain severe conditions such as:

  • Loss of nails on fingers and toes
  • Encephalitis: encephalitis is the acute inflammation in the brain caused by a viral infection or an autoimmune disorder. Encephalitis is a severe life-threatening condition that causes the brain to swell and headaches and seizures. Encephalitis requires immediate medical attention.
  • Viral meningitis is the most common kind of meningitis, and most of the time,  it gets better without any treatment. But, in some cases, it can be hazardous and life-threatening. Viral meningitis is also called aseptic meningitis, and it is the viral infection of membranes and the Erebrobrospinal fluid5 surrounding your brain and spinal cord.
  • Dehydration: as mentioned earlier, dehydration is the most significant complication of normal hand foot, and mouth disease. The mouth sores and sore throat result in difficulty swallowing food and water. So most children tend to avoid drinking enough water when suffering from hand foot, and mouth disease, which leads to dehydration.

Both encephalitis and viral meningitis are severe conditions that need a doctor. However,  hand foot and mouth disease rarely leads to these complications.

5. Treatment of Hand-Foot and Mouth Disease

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease: What It Is & How to Treat It Naturally

There is no specific treatment for hand foot and mouth disease, and it is not needed because the illness gets cured on its own in 10-15 days without any treatment. Your doctor might suggest certain medications to reduce the symptoms. For instance,

  • ointments and creams to soothe rashes and blisters.
  • Syrup and lozenges to cure sore throat.

Apart from this, several home remedies offer better relief.

Here are some of the effective methods you can use to ease the symptoms:

Gargling with warm salt water helps to heal the painful mouth sores faster.

Get your children cold foods such as ice cream, ice pops, smoothies, and yogurt, and it helps soothe a sore throat.

Use lotions and powders on painful red blisters and rashes.

Ensure that your kid is taking enough fluids and is staying hydrated.

6. Prevention:

8 Effective  Home Remedies for Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease in Children

As there is no vaccine or antibiotics to cure hand foot and mouth disease, it is better to prevent it. Follow these tips to avoid the infection.

Disinfecting surfaces: the coxsackievirus is very contagious and can survive on inanimate surfaces. Thus, disinfecting common areas and surfaces with bleaching powder or disinfectant spray is an effective way to get rid of the virus infection. Also, disinfect your kid’s clothes, and toys.

Hand washing: washing hands with soap and water is the most effective way to prevent hand foot and mouth disease. Ensure to wash your hands before eating, cooking, and after using the toilet.

Teach your kids hygiene habits: explain how important it is to practice good hygiene. Ask them to follow hygienic habits such as washing their hands, taking sound baths every day, cover their noses and mouth with tissue or handkerchief while sneezing and coughing. Avoid putting hands in their mouth and biting toys and other things. Avoid eating with unwashed hands.

Avoid sharing personal hygiene things such as bath towels, and handkerchiefs.

Avoid direct contact with an infected person or people who have hand foot and mouth disease symptoms.

7. Conclusion:

Hand foot mouth and disease are common among children, and it is not fatal, so you don’t need to be flustered about it.

Since it affects kids mainly, parents should pay enough attention to their child’s health and hygiene. That is the only way to get away with hand and mouth disease.

It is generally a mild condition that goes away with proper care and medication within a few days.

Always be on the lookout for symptoms.


1. Is hand-foot-and-mouth serious?

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is usually not serious. Nearly all people get better in 7 to 10 days with no or minimal medical treatment. Complications from hand, foot, and mouth disease are rare.

2. How long does HFMD disease last?

Hand, foot, and mouth disease can be unpleasant, but it will usually clear up by itself within 7 to 10 days. You can normally look after yourself or your child at home. The infection is not related to foot and mouth disease, which affects cattle, sheep, and pigs.

3. What is the fastest recovery for HFMD?

The key to recovering well and fast is adequate fluid and rest. Although the ulcers in the mouth hurt, drinking lots of water remains essential. To speed up recovery, make sure to get plenty of rest and stay well-hydrated.
Read more
  1. Han, Zhenzhi, et al. “Genomic epidemiology of coxsackievirus A16 in mainland of China, 2000–18.” Virus evolution 6.2 (2020): veaa084. ↩︎
  2. Zhao, Tian‐Shuo, et al. “A review and meta‐analysis of the epidemiology and clinical presentation of coxsackievirus A6 causing hand‐foot‐mouth disease in China and global implications.” Reviews in medical virology 30.2 (2020): e2087. ↩︎
  3. Gan, Tong J., et al. “Fourth consensus guidelines for the management of postoperative nausea and vomiting.” Anesthesia & Analgesia 131.2 (2020): 411-448. ↩︎
  4. de Oliveira, Daniela Pedrosa, Juliana Souza Ribeiro Costa, and Laura Oliveira-Nascimento. “Sustainability of blisters for medicines in tablet form.” Sustainable chemistry and pharmacy 21 (2021): 100423. ↩︎
  5. Solár, Peter, et al. “Choroid plexus and the blood–cerebrospinal fluid barrier in disease.” Fluids and Barriers of the CNS 17 (2020): 1-29. ↩︎

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