HAND, FOOT & MOUTH DISEASE
Hand, foot and mouth disease is a virus infection that begins in the throat. The throat, tonsils, skin, gastrointestinal tract and central nervous system--including the brain, the coverings of the brain (meninges), and the spinal cord -- and peripheral nerves are involved. Hand, foot and mouth disease is most prevalent in infants and young children (2 weeks to 3 years).
Appropriate health care includes:
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSSudden fever.
Sore throat with blisters and ulcers in the child's mouth and throat lining.
Rash with blisters on the child's hands, feet, and groin.
Loss of appetite.
Abdominal pain (sometimes).
Infection from the Coxsackie virus A-16, which is transmitted from person to person.
Summer and fall seasons.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEPrevent exposure of infants and young children to anyone with a respiratory illness.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Convulsions with high fever (sometimes, especially in infants).
Permanent brain damage caused by spread of infection to the child's central nervous system.
Spontaneous recovery in 4 to 5 days.
Dip a cotton applicator in 2% hydrogen peroxide, and apply to the blisters in the child's mouth.
Rinse the child's mouth with salt water (1/2 teaspoon salt to 1 cup water) after eating, if the child is old enough to rinse without swallowing.
Boil eating utensils and other items that touch the child's mouth or saliva--or use disposable utensils--to avoid transmitting the disease.
Boil bottle nipples separately for 20 minutes before sterilizing a baby's formula in the bottles.
MEDICATIONTo reduce high fever, use non-prescription drugs such as acetaminophen. Antibiotics are not effective against this disease.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Keep your child in bed until fever and other symptoms disappear. Normal activities may be resumed gradually.
DIET & FLUIDS
Encourage your child to increase fluid intake, including milk, liquid gelatin, ice cream, custard, or drinks made with syrup of wild cherry (available from your druggist). If drinking is painful, older children may use a straw.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?When signs of infection have decreased, appetite returns, and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease.
The following occurs during treatment:
-- Fever of 101F (38.3C) or higher.
-- Skin lesions.
-- Significant weight loss (10% of body weight).
-- Signs of dehydration (wrinkled skin, weight loss, irritability, lethargy, and dry-looking tongue).
-- Pain in the child's neck or extremities.
-- Decreased urination or dark urine.