Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

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This is an article from our “Doctor’s Corner” series, brought to you by Samitivej Hospital. Make sure to read the entire series!

What is Hand, foot and mouth disease?

Hand, foot and mouth disease is caused by intestinal virus or many types of enteroviruses. The disease mostly affects young babies and children aged less than five years old.  It usually occurs all year round, but is most commonly found in the rainy season with its cold and dampness.

Hand, foot and mouth disease

A child infected with hand, foot and mouth disease suffers from fever, exhaustion, and a loss of appetite. One or two days after the onset of the disease, the infected child will have nasal mucus, pain in the mouth, and a sore throat, while babies will also refuse to drink the mother’s breast milk. An examination in the mouth will find red spots or clear fluid within them on the membrane around the mouth, tongue, and gums. The child will have a rash on their hands and feet. The red spots will turn into blister and popped open. Eventually, the symptoms will improve and the disease will be cured by itself within 7–10 days.

How is hand, foot and mouth disease transmitted?

In most cases, the disease is transmitted from infected feces when consuming food and liquids, sucking fingers, and playing with toys contaminated with the disease. Furthermore, the disease can be transferred from an infected person’s lymph, droplets of nasal mucus or saliva. Although there is still no vaccine to cure the disease, it can be prevented by maintaining good hygiene with the following approaches:

  • Always washes the hands with soap both before and after eating food and going to the bathroom
  • Always keep the fingernails clipped and keep the body clean
  • Always avoid sharing personal items with others, such as drinking glasses, spoons, forks, handkerchiefs, hand towels, and toothbrushes
  • Always keep items clean including toys and the house in general
  • For parents, always instruct your children and their nannies on how to maintain proper hygiene
  • Try to avoid being in congested areas such as shopping malls, markets, and swimming pools
  • Closely observe any abnormalities that the children are exhibiting. If there are any signs indicating that the child may be suffering from hand, food, and mouth disease, take the child to visit a doctor as soon as possible
  • Those who plan to take young children with them to visit a country where the disease is spreading, there is nothing to worry about if you follow the guidelines above
Looking for a doctor for your child infectious disease questions? We recommend:
Passorn Punyahotra, M.D.Passorn Punyahotra, M.D.
Pediatrics – Infectious Disease, Samitivej Hospital
Questions about your pregnancy, child birth or life with an infant? Ask the Doctor!

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For further information, please contact:

Child Health Institute
Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital
2st Floor, Building 2
Tel: 66 (0) 2711-8236-7
Call Center: 66 (0) 2711-8181
E-mail: info@samitivej.co.th
Facebook: www.facebook.com/samitivej

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