Everything You Need to Know about Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
Hand, foot, and mouth disease has been in the news recently, thanks to a growing number of outbreaks during the spring and early summer months. If you're concerned about recent reports, learn the basics of this contagious viral infection.
What Is it?
Common in young children, hand, foot, and mouth disease is usually caused by the coxsackievirus A16 virus. Since the illness typically spreads by person-to-person contact, it's common for outbreaks to occur in school and other childcare settings.
What Are the Symptoms?
Hand, foot, and mouth disease can cause some or all of the following:
- Sore throat
- Loss of appetite
- A rash on the soles, palms and sometimes the buttocks
- Red, painful, blister-like lesions in front of the tonsils, but sometimes on the gums, tongue and inside of the cheeks
Fever is usually the first sign of hand, foot, and mouth disease, followed by sore throat and sometimes malaise and poor appetite. Other symptoms may begin to appear about 24 to 48 hours after an initial fever.
How Is the Infection Treated?
In the vast majority of cases, hand, foot, and mouth disease causes minor symptoms that improve after a few days. There's no specific treatment for the illness. In some cases, oral anesthetic can be used to relieve pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers can also be used to relieve discomfort.
When to Visit PhysicianOne Urgent Care
Since hand, foot, and mouth disease is caused by a viral infection, there is no specific treatment for the virus itself, and in the vast majority of instances, the disease is a minor illness that gets better on its own within a few days. It is important to visit your local PhysicianOne Urgent Care if symptoms worsen or show no improvement after a few days, or if a sore throat or mouth sores prevent your child from drinking enough fluids During your visit, the provider can perform tests to make sure oral lesions are not a result of some other type of infection.
If a provider confirms that symptoms are a result of hand, foot, and mouth disease, he or she may prescribe a topical oral anesthetic to help alleviate the pain of mouth sores. Non-aspirin over-the-counter pain medications can also be used to reduce the severity of symptoms.
Reducing Your Child's Risk
You and your child can reduce the risk of contracting hand, foot and mouth disease by washing your hands frequently and avoiding people who are already infected. You should also keep your children home from school and daycare anytime they exhibit troubling symptoms.
We understand being sick or injured is not convenient, and it’s not always easy to access your primary care doctor right away, or appropriate to head to the Emergency Department. PhysicianOne Urgent Care is here to help. We offer walk-in care, extended hours and the immediate treatment of urgent, but not life-threatening illnesses and injuries. Contact us at 1.855.349.2828 or visit the PhysicianOne Urgent Care nearest you.