Hand Food Mouth Disease (HFMD): What You Need To Know

Posted Thursday, November 5, 2015

Did You Know? There is no vaccine to protect against HFMD

Take the Right Steps In Preventing This Highly Contagious Disease

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been more than 280 thousand cases of Hand Foot Mouth Disease (HFMD) reported in Singapore and Japan this year alone.  HFMD is highly contagious, larger outbreaks are uncommon in the United States. This guide is intended to help educate patients on what Hand Foot Mouth Disease is, what the signs and symptoms are and prevention recommendations.

01 | What is Hand Foot Mouth Disease?

HFMD is an extremely contagious virus, formally known as coxsackievirus. The illness begins in the digestive track; infants and children, up to the age of five, are mostly at risk of contracting the illness.  HFMD is spread from one person to the other through fecal matter contaminated surfaces, direct contact with feces, mucus or fluid from formed sores located on the hands and feet. Due to vast number of infections originating in daycares and preschools, the infection spreads quickly. HFMD can also continue to spread weeks following an outbreak through a child’s stool.

02 | Signs and Symptoms

Generally, within three to six days symptoms appear or there may be no signs of the contracted virus. Here is a list of general symptoms, which are:  

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Flu-like symptoms (i.e. coughing, sneezing high temperatures)

Severe symptoms include:

  • Sores – located on the tongue, gums, and inside cheeks
  • Blisters – located on the feet and hands and inside the throat
  • Ulcers – these are the blisters that have popped and peeled.
  • Skin Rash – located on the feet and hands 

03| Prevention Recommendations

The following recommendations are methods that can lower the risk of contracting the disease including:  

  • Frequently disinfecting commonly used areas such as restrooms, kitchens and children’s play areas, including all loose toys.
  • Washing hands as frequent as possible, especially after using the restroom or handling soiled diapers.
  • Avoiding or preventing the sharing of utensils.
  • Keeping children home with sores, rashes and/or fever.  

Implementing these simple options can help avoid spreading HMFD.  For additional resources and information on Hand Foot Mouth Disease (HFMD) visit: http://www.cdc.gov/hand-foot-mouth/ 

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