“HAND, FOOT & MOUTH DISEASE” is a common childhood illness caused by the cocksackie virus A16 (it has no relationship to hoof and mouth disease of cattle). In many people, infection with the virus causes mild or no symptoms. In others, infection may result in painful blisters in the mouth, on the gums and tongue, on the palms and fingers of the hand, or on the soles of the feet. The infection is spread by direct contact with nose and throat secretions, by the stool of an infected person, and by droplets from sneezing and coughing. The infection usually goes away without any serious complications. Symptoms usually begin 3-5 days after exposure to someone with the virus.
SYMPTOMS: Symptoms would be small ulcers in the mouth, blistered lesions on palms, fingers and soles of feet, and sometimes buttocks, lasting 7-10 days.Because the small ulcers in the mouth can be painful and make drinking difficult, watch your child closely for dehydration and ensure he or she drinks enough fluids during the course of the illness. Contact your doctor if you suspect your child is dehydrated or if you have any other concerns.
CONTAGIOUS PERIOD: During acute illness and possibly longer since the virus is excreted in the stool for several weeks.