Hand Foot And Mouth Contagious Period

Q: How Long Are You Contagious

How long is Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease contagious for?

A: Youre most contagious with hand, foot and mouth disease during the first few days of being sick often before blisters appear. Once the blisters dry up, youre less likely to pass on the virus, though it can live in your stool for weeks after the rash clears.

Hand, foot and mouth disease can be spread in several ways:

  • Droplets expelled when a person who is infected coughs or sneezes.
  • Direct contact with blisters.
  • Through feces. Be sure to wash your hands right away if youre changing diapers, pull-ups or otherwise come into contact with an infected persons stool.

If your child becomes infected, prevent the spread by keeping them home from daycare, school or other group activities. If youre infected, stay home from work or school.

Viruses That Cause Hand Foot And Mouth Disease

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is caused by viruses that belong to the Enterovirus family.

Common causes of hand, foot, and mouth disease are:

  • Coxsackievirus A16 is typically the most common cause of hand, foot, and mouth disease in the United States. Other coxsackieviruses can also cause the illness.
  • Coxsackievirus A6 can also cause HFMD and the symptoms may be more severe.
  • Enterovirus 71 has been associated with cases and outbreaks in East and Southeast Asia. Although rare, EV-A71 has been associated with more severe diseases such as encephalitis .

Animals do not get hand, foot, and mouth disease

Animals such as cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats can get foot and mouth disease , which is different than hand, foot, and mouth disease.

Spotty Rash And Blisters

Soon after the mouth ulcers appear, you’ll probably notice a rash made up of small, raised red spots on the skin.

These typically develop on the fingers, the backs or palms of the hand, the soles of the feet, and occasionally on the buttocks and groin.

The spots may then turn into small blisters with a grey centre.

The spots and blisters can sometimes be itchy or uncomfortable and typically last up to 10 days.

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How Is Hand Foot And Mouth Disease Managed Or Treated

Symptoms from hand, foot and mouth disease are typically mild. Most people improve in a week or two with minimal at-home care. Your healthcare provider may recommend:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers for fever and pain, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen .
  • For people old enough to gargle, Magic mouthwash, a prescription combination of an antacid , a liquid antihistamine and a painkiller such as lidocaine.

What Causes Hand Foot And Mouth Disease

Hand Foot Mouth Contagious Period

HFMD is one of several infectious diseases caused by different members of the enterovirus family of viruses.

  • The most common cause is Coxsackievirus A16 less frequently enterovirus 71 is the infectious agent.
  • The clinical manifestations of routine HFMD are the same regardless of the responsible virus.
  • However, patients infected with enterovirus 71 are more likely to experience rare complications .

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Has Foot And Mouth Been Found In Australia Recently

Viral fragments of the disease have been detected. These fragments are not live virus so cant be transmitted. The fragments were in a beef product at an Australian airport. A passenger travelling from Indonesia has, in recent days, been intercepted with a beef product that they didnt declare, which tested positive for foot and mouth disease viral fragments, said Agriculture Minister Murray Watt on July 20.

And routine inspections of pork products from China for sale in Melbournes CBD have shown up viral fragments of both foot and mouth disease and African swine fever another livestock disease that hasnt previously circulated among animals in Australia. Im advised that all products now of this kind have been seized from all linked supermarkets and a warehouse in Melbourne as well, said Watt.

But the viral fragments have raised concerns that other tainted products could breach Australias biosecurity system.

Whats Being Done To Stop The Spread

Foot mats are being rolled out at international airports, starting with Darwin and Cairns, for travellers from Indonesia to walk across on arrival. The mats contain a citric acid solution, which dislodges dirt and covers it in the acid. We still encourage Australians to clean their shoes and clothing, and even leave their footwear overseas if they can, said Watt.

Travellers arriving in Australia from Indonesia must declare contact with farm animals. Luggage is being scanned and inspected by hand and officials are boarding aircrafts from Indonesia on arrival to play a message focused on concerns around the disease.

One NSW cattle farmer told The Age and The Sydney Morning Heraldwhen he and his wife returned from Bali recently, they ticked the box saying they had been on a farm because they stayed at a resort in Seminyak across the road from livestock paddocks which meant their luggage was checked. Other people on his flight didnt tick the box because they had not, technically, been on a farm.

Vosloo says returned travellers should not go to farming regions. If youve been in close contact with infected animals, avoid going to a farm, a show with animals and any other places with susceptible animals.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Hand Foot And Mouth Disease

Symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease typically appear within three to seven days after exposure. When the illness starts, you or your child might have a mild fever, sore throat, runny nose and little appetite. After a couple of days, these flu-like symptoms go away and these new symptoms develop:

  • Itchy rash on the palms of the hand, soles of the feet, knees, elbows, genitals or butt cheeks.
  • Painful mouth sores.
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck.

What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment,

If you or your child has hand, foot and mouth disease, you may want to ask your doctor:

  • How long are we contagious?
  • How long should my child stay home from school?
  • How long should I stay home from work?
  • Should I notify my childs school about the infection?
  • What steps can I take to ensure other family members dont get infected?
  • What can I do to make myself or my child more comfortable?
  • What can I do to alleviate symptoms like an itchy rash or mouth pain?
  • How long will the rash last?
  • Can the infection come back?
  • What steps can I take to prevent getting hand, foot and mouth disease again?
  • Should I look out for any signs of complications?


Symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease tend to be mild and go away with minimal treatment in less than two weeks. Because the virus is highly contagious, its important to practice good hygiene and take steps to keep it from infecting others. Your doctor can provide suggestions for symptom relief and offer tips for keeping other people healthy and virus-free.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/08/2020.


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Symptoms Of Hand Foot And Mouth Disease

Once exposed to HFMD, it can be between three to five days before symptoms emerge. Sometimes, the incubation period can be as long as two weeks. An individual is most contagious during the first week they are ill.

HFMD symptoms include:

  • Painful sores inside the mouth
  • Skin rash on the hands and feet that may turn into blisters
  • It is usually a few days after the onset of the fever that the sores develop in the mouth. The sores which can appear on the tongue, gums or inside the cheeks can be very painful. On the skin, a rash can appear on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet that can turn into blisters. The fever may last only a day or two.

Sometimes a person who has been exposed to HFMD may not have any symptoms or have only mouth sores or just a skin rash.

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The Incubation Period Of Hfmd

The incubation period for HFMD is generally known to last as long as three to five days. Though, the incubation period for the illness is also known to last as short as two days and as long as two weeks. The incubation period generally marks the time that an infected child can potentially pass the condition to another uninfected person.

In most cases, the child can pass HFMD by coughing and/or sneezing, which can transmit the virus in the air. They can also pass the virus by touching others or surfaces if they havent washed their hands after touching face or mouth.

HFMD generally remains contagious until the spots and/or mouth ulcers disappear in children. Children, however, are known to remain relatively infectious for periods longer than two weeks.

During this time the virus may be passed through their stool long after their symptoms subside. To prevent them from potentially spreading the virus around, its important for parents to educate them about good hygiene practices.

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What Are The Symptoms And Signs Of The Coxsackievirus

The coxsackievirus are RNA viruses, that may cause hand, foot, and mouth disease. The most common signs and symptoms of coxsackievirus infection include:

HFMD is most commonly an illness of the summer and fall seasons.

  • Initial symptoms of a low-grade fever and malaise are followed within 1 or 2 days by a characteristic skin rash.
  • Small red spots that quickly develop into small blisters appear on the palms, soles, and oral cavity.
  • The gums, tongue, and inner cheek are most commonly involved in the mouth.
  • The foot lesions may also involve the lower calf region and rarely may appear on the buttocks.
  • Oral lesions are commonly associated with a sore throat, uncomfortable eating, and drinking, and as a result, a diminished appetite. It is very rare for an infected child to become dehydrated due to oral discomfort.
  • It is estimated that approximately 50% of those infected with this enterovirus never develop symptoms.
  • Symptoms are much more common in infants, toddlers, and young children.
  • Older children, teens, and adults are more likely to incur no symptoms.
  • How Long Is It Contagious

    Class 3.6 CAPS 2009: HFMD

    Like most childhood viruses, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly when kids with hand, foot and mouth disease are no longer contagious. We do know that children can spread hand, foot and mouth disease starting the day before the rash shows up and for several days after the rash appears.

    As long as children do not have a fever and otherwise are acting like themselves, most child care centers do not exclude children with the assumption that good handwashing is routinely practiced.

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    Causes Of Hand Foot And Mouth Disease

    Hand, foot and mouth disease is usually caused by a group of viruses known as the coxsackieviruses. The one that most commonly causes the disease is coxsackie virus A16.

    Another virus called enterovirus 71 can occasionally cause a more severe form of hand, foot and mouth disease. EV71 is uncommon in the UK.

    The virus is very easily spread. Its passed from one person to another through coughing or sneezing and from direct contact with fluid from blisters. Its also passed on in an infected persons faeces they can spread it if they dont wash their hands properly after going to the toilet.

    How Hand Foot And Mouth Disease Spreads

    Someone with hand, foot and mouth disease is most infectious from just before their symptoms start until they’re feeling better.

    The infection can be spread by close person to person contact and contact with contaminated surfaces. The virus is found in:

    • the droplets in the coughs and sneezes of an infected person you can become infected if you get these on your hands and then touch your mouth, or if you breathe in the droplets
    • an infected person’s poo if an infected person doesn’t wash their hands properly after going to the toilet, they can contaminate food or surfaces
    • an infected person’s saliva or fluid from their blisters you can become infected if this gets in your mouth

    The infection is caused by a number of different viruses, so it’s possible to get it more than once. Most people develop immunity to these viruses as they get older.

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    How Is It Treated

    When necessary, the fever from hand, foot and mouth disease can be reduced with acetaminophen . Ask your health care provider the dose to use, or read the instructions on the package or bottle carefully. Antibiotics will not help treat or cure this disease.

    For more information on Reye Syndrome, see HealthLinkBC File #84 Reye Syndrome.

    Blisters will heal better if they are left alone, so do not pop them. Because the mouth sores can be painful, your child may not want to eat or drink.

    Give your child cold, bland liquids such as milk or water. Do not give fizzy or tart drinks such as pop or fruit juice. Avoid acidic and spicy foods, as these may sting. Give your child cool and soft foods such as bread, noodles, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

    Remember, if you think your child has hand, foot and mouth disease, make sure to follow proper hygiene practices such as frequent hand washing, to prevent it from spreading to others.

    Hand Foot And Mouth Disease Is Common

    How long is hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) contageous for?

    HFMD is common and in the U.S. occurs mostly in the summer and fall, but you can get it any time of year.

    Because it is common and usually mild, children can continue to go to child care and schools as long as they:

    • Have no uncontrolled drooling with mouth sores.
    • Feel well enough to participate in classroom activities.

    Talk with your childs healthcare provider if you are still not sure when it is okay for them to return. In some cases, the local health department may require children with HFMD to stay home to control an outbreak.

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    How Do You Prevent Hand Foot And Mouth Disease

    Hand, foot, and mouth disease is caused by a virus, and you can prevent the spread of infection by washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after touching anything.

    • Regularly disinfect anything your child might touch including toys, tables, sinks, doorknobs, and other surfaces.
    • Children who are sick should stay home from school or daycare to prevent spreading the virus to others.

    Arrivecan App Glitch Tells Vaccinated Eastern Ontario Travellers To Quarantine

    The federal government says that it has identified an issue with the ArriveCan app that has instructed users to quarantine even if it is not necessary, and are working to fix it.

    In a statement to CTV News Ottawa on Wednesday, the Office of the Ministry of Public Safety says this notice is a technical glitch.

    The CBSA has identified a technical glitch with the app that has affected some users in recent days, which can produce an erroneous notification instructing people to quarantine, the ministry said. This glitch affects less than 3 per cent of users, and appears to be linked to iOS devices. The CBSA is working around-the-clock to fix this issue.

    It says a solution has been found and will be implemented by the end of the week.

    Sarah Giroux says she received a notice after a trip to Ogdensburg, New York, with her husband and two children last Friday.

    filled out our ArriveCan app before we left, had all our vaccines uploaded. Weve crossed before and never had issues.

    But she says that changed around 11 a.m. on Saturday, when she got an alert saying her children need to quarantine for 14 days, or the family could face a fine, or even imprisonment.

    Right away, sheer panic. What? Theyre out in the community, bring them home lock them up. What do we have to do, panicking, Giroux says.

    She and her family are fully vaccinated and she says she couldnt understand why she received the notice.

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    Staying Off School Or Nursery

    Keep your child off school or nursery while they’re feeling unwell.

    But as soon as they’re feeling better, they can go back to school or nursery. There’s no need to wait until all the blisters have healed.

    Keeping your child away from other children for longer is unlikely to stop the illness spreading.

    How Is Hand Foot And Mouth Disease Diagnosed

    Hand foot &  mouth disease

    A doctor can often diagnose HFMD by performing a physical exam. Theyll check your mouth and body for the appearance of blisters and rashes. The doctor will also ask you or your child about other symptoms.

    The doctor may take a throat swab or stool sample to test for the virus. This will allow them to confirm the diagnosis.

    In most cases, the infection will go away without treatment in 7 to 10 days. However, your doctor may recommend certain treatments to help ease symptoms until the disease has run its course. These can include:

    • prescription or over-the-counter topical ointments to soothe blisters and rashes
    • pain medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to relieve headaches
    • medicated syrups or lozenges to ease painful sore throats

    You shouldnt give aspirin to children for viral infections. Aspirin can lead to Reyes syndrome in children.

    Certain at-home treatments can also provide relief from HFMD symptoms. You can try the following home remedies to help make blisters less bothersome:

    • sucking on ice chips or popsicles
    • eating ice cream or sherbet
    • drinking cold beverages
    • limiting citrus fruits, fruit drinks, and soda
    • limiting spicy or salty foods

    Swishing warm salt water around in your mouth may also help relieve the pain associated with mouth blisters and throat sores. You can do this several times a day or as often as needed.

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