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Hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease

Nov 17, 2017

My sister-in-law, Dr. Jessica Long, is a fabulous pediatrician in Washington, DC. She recently blogged about the dreaded Hand Foot & Mouth Disease, which got me thinking – I should touch upon this too! For those of you lucky enough to have not encountered this viral illness yet, here’s a brief summary on what it is:

  • Hand, Foot and Mouth is a viral infection caused by the Coxsackie Virus, in the family of Enteroviruses
  • It causes an unpleasant rash on the hands, feet, and mouth; this rash is not really itchy, but rather more painful/uncomfortable with occasional blistering
  • The virus mostly affects infants, toddlers, and young children
  • It typically causes fever, sore throat, general malaise & irritability
  • It should resolve uneventfully in about 7-10 days

I often see children with Hand Foot and Mouth in the Fall, when parents report that their little one is having a hard time eating, not letting them brush, and that their gums are bleeding. As Dr. Long put it, “If you haven’t been plagued by this viral illness yet, your time will eventually come.  Nearly every child is struck by this rash during their early childhood.  It is typically harmless and lasts about a week but boy does it make for sleepless nights and lots of phone calls and office visits from uncomfortable families.”

While there is no quick fix for this illness, the main goal is to keep your child as comfortable and hydrated as possible. Children are especially prone to dehydration, and the mouth sores can make it challenging to get your little one to drink. Children’s Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen can help, as well as popsicles and other frozen things to help ensure your child gets her necessary fluids.

Check out Dr. Long’s post for more tips on how to manage this viral illness.

© 2014 Dr. Jennifer Fountain, DDS.
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