Hand-foot-mouth disease is also called hoof-and-mouth disease. This is a viral infection that is highly contagious in children. The incubation period is from 3 to 7 days before breakouts start appearing. The mouth is the first place that blisters appear, then the hands and the feet. A viral disease cannot be treated but the symptoms can be treated in many ways. There are several symptoms of the hand-foot-mouth disease that you should be familiar with:
- The child lacks appetite for solid foods
- A fever occurs during the first stages of the disease. It is just normal and not dangerous.
- The child will start to complain about a sore throat.
- After a few days, there will be red spots in the mouth. These are sores on the tongue, mouth and throat that will develop into blisters and are very uncomfortable.
- Later, flat raised red spots will develop on the child’s hand and the sole of their feet. In infants, the rash appears in the diaper area. The rash is not itchy.
- Check every day the mouth, hands and feet of the child. After the flare up, each symptom should be eliminated within a week.
- A child may also experience headaches.
Hand-foot-mouth disease can be prevented by the following:
- Washing of hands thoroughly and frequently, after using the bathroom or changing a baby’s diaper. Use warm water in washing the hands.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces or items like toys
- Hand-foot-mouth disease can spread quickly in schools and day-care centers. Children should be kept home until they feel well.
Treat hand-foot-mouth disease with these first aid measures
- Take the child’s temperature. This is an initial first aid measure that you have to carry out. If the child has fever, give Advil or Tylenol to bring the fever down.
- Give the child fluids. If there are sores in the mouth, do not give sodas and juices it will cause irritation on the throats. Just give water and milk products. Water keeps the body healthy and fight off infections
- Let the child gargle with salt and water mixture. Salt kills germs that cause sores.
- Keeping the child’s hand and feet clean all the time. Washing of hands before and after eating, and brushing the teeth after eating as well as gargle with mouth wash to rinse off bacteria in the mouth. Apply aloe gel which is a natural healer.
- Keeping the child home until he/she is fully well. Once the child has the symptoms of hand-foot-mouth disease, it takes 5 to 7 days to heal. The child is contagious and should be kept away from other people.
Tips and warnings
Do not give the individual an icy bath; it could worsen the infection. Just allow the individual to take a cool or trepid bath.
Do not give a child aspirin if he/she is under 12 years old. It should never be given to viral infections since it may cause Reye’s Disease.