Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease Some Important Facts

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease generally affects children below 10 years of age and commonly below 5 years of age. Children of childcare centers are more susceptible to the disease, because of contagious nature of the disease and spread from person to person by contact. Older children usually have immunity against the disease due to exposure to the virus. Although children are more susceptible to hand-foot-and-mouth disease, sometimes adults may also get the disease.

What are the possible complications of hand-foot-and-mouth disease?

The disease is mostly mild and in most cases do not lead to any complication other than dehydration. To prevent dehydration, make sure your child drink sips frequently. However, in rare cases it may lead to serious complications such as viral meningitis and encephalitis.

  • Viral meningitis: this is a very rare complication of hand-foot-and-mouth disease. This occurs due to infection and inflammation of meninges and the cerebrospinal fluid (csf).
  • Encephalitis: this is also very rare complication and involves inflammation of the brain.

Diagnosis of hand-foot-and-mouth disease:

History of symptoms, age of the patient and presence of typical sore in mouth, and presence of red rash in palms and soles can easily help your doctor to diagnose the disease. Sometimes your doctor may take a swab from throat of the patient and send to lab for identifying the causative virus. For diagnosis, clinical examination and history is usually sufficient and rarely lab tests are done for diagnosis of hand-foot-and-mouth disease.

Treatment of hand-foot-and-mouth disease:

There is no specific treatment required for hand-foot-and-mouth disease. Because, the disease is usually mild and can easily be managed by symptomatic treatment. To prevent dehydration, patient should be given frequent fluid (if required oral rehydration salt). Signs and symptoms usually clears within 10 days. If there is fever, patient can be given over-the-counter fever medication such as acetaminophen. Use of a topical oral anesthetic can help reduce pain in mouth associated with sores.


Image courtesy of [kdshutterman] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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