Does your child have a suspicious rash forming on their hands, feet or mouth? If so, they may have contracted hand, foot and mouth disease. The virus is highly contagious and is most common in children under the age of five, though it can quickly spread to adults who come into direct contact with bodily fluids and excrement, as well as untouched hands. The virus can last for up to 10 days and can treat itself without medication. If your child has begun to exhibit symptoms, bring them to your local AFC Urgent Care Center for diagnosis and treatment.
Symptoms of Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease
The primary symptom of hand, foot and mouth disease is a rash, with red bumps spreading through the arms, legs, and torso. As the virus progresses, the rash will develop into blistering sores especially near the mouth. Additional symptoms include fever, dehydration, sore throat and loss of appetite due to pain associated with swallowing. The virus can be spread through physical contact with a contaminated surface, which can include books, toys, faucets, door handles, and stair railings. Any surface that has been touched in your home while a member has hand, foot and mouth disease should be disinfected immediately. If your child requires changing, you may contract the virus while changing diapers. The virus can spread for several weeks after the symptoms have dissipated.
Preventing Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease
Hand, foot and mouth disease is preventable by following proper hygiene habits. As soon as possible, teach your child correct handwashing protocol, using soap and hot water for at least 30 seconds. Since they may not have an understanding of time, have them sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or the ABC song as they wash their hands after using the bathroom or playing outside. In order to prevent a case from forming as an adult, you should wash your hands immediately after handling any raw food but especially meat, as well as using the bathroom or changing your child. Make sure you wipe down and disinfect any counter space prior to preparing food in order to prevent contamination. If your child is infected, avoid physical contact as much as you can and do not share common items such as kitchen utensils until your child is no longer contagious.