Incubation Period Hand Foot And Mouth

Check If Its Hand Foot And Mouth Disease

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

The first signs of hand, foot and mouth disease can be:

  • not wanting to eat

After a few days mouth ulcers and a rash will appear.

The symptoms are usually the same in adults and children, but they can be worse in babies and children under 5.

Its possible to get hand, foot and mouth disease more than once.

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Is Hand Foot And Mouth Disease Dangerous

While the name might make this condition sound rather frightening, the truth is that many kids under the age of five develop this illness. This is because these viruses are quite contagious. Even though this most often impacts young children, this infection can also present in older children, teens, and even adults.

What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor

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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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.

When To Get Medical Advice

Class 3.6 CAPS 2009: HFMD

You don’t usually need medical attention if you think you or your child has hand, foot and mouth disease. The infection will usually pass in 7 to 10 days, and there isn’t much your doctor can do.

Antibiotics won’t help as hand, foot and mouth disease is caused by a virus.

If you’re unsure whether you or your child has hand, foot and mouth disease, you can call the NHS 24 service or your GP for advice.

You should also get medical advice if:

  • your child is unable or unwilling to drink any fluids
  • your child has signs of dehydration, such as unresponsiveness, passing small amounts of urine or no urine at all, or cold hands and feet
  • your child develops fits , confusion, weakness or a loss of consciousness
  • your child is under three months old and has a temperature of 38C or above, or is between three and six months old and has a temperature of 39C or above
  • the skin becomes very painful, red, swollen and hot, or there’s a discharge of pus
  • the symptoms are getting worse or haven’t improved after 7 to 10 days

Get advice from your GP if you’re pregnant and you become infected within a few weeks of your due date. Infection in pregnancy is usually nothing to worry about, but there’s a small chance it could make your baby ill if you’re infected shortly before you give birth.

Read more about the risks of hand, foot and mouth disease in pregnancy

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Can You Prevent Hand Foot And Mouth Disease

  • There is no vaccine to prevent HFMD.
  • Routine hygiene is a primary strategy to limit transmission of the virus.
  • Cleaning a child’s toys is important.
  • Avoidance of direct saliva exposure is also very helpful to limit transmission.
  • Since transmission of the virus is also possible via stool, wearing disposable gloves during changing diapers is also beneficial.

How Is Hand Foot And Mouth Disease Treated

Unfortunately, there isnt a medication that will get rid of hand, foot and mouth disease. Like most viral infections, the infection just has to run its course however, there are certain things your pediatrician may prescribe or recommend that you do to ease your childs symptoms. For example, ibuprofen may be recommended to help ease the pain as well as your childs fever. Of course, its always a good idea to speak with your pediatrician before you start your child on any medication, even over-the-counter medications.If your child develops symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease its important that you see your pediatrician as soon as possible for an evaluation, as they will want to make sure that this is truly whats causing their symptoms.

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What Should I Do If My Child Has Hand Foot And Mouth Disease

The first thing you can do is contact your physician. They will give you proper advice on how to handle the situation and if any extra treatment is required to soothe the symptoms. In addition to that, you can try a couple of home remedies such as salt water gargling, having ice creams, and avoiding spicy or salty foods.

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Public Health Significance And Occurrence Of Hand Foot And Mouth Disease

Hand Foot and Mouth Disease, Animation

HFMD occurs worldwide, sporadically and in epidemics. The greatest incidence is in summer and early autumn. In tropical and subtropical countries, circulation of the virus tends to be year-round, with more outbreaks in the rainy season. Outbreaks occur frequently among groups of children in childcare centres and schools.

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How Is Hand Foot And Mouth Disease Spread

Hand, foot and mouth disease spreads through direct contact with these blisters, as well as the droplets expelled when you sneeze or cough. The virus can also be passed along in poop, so be sure to wash your hands right away if youre changing diapers, pull-ups or otherwise come in to contact at home or working at a daycare. But its important to note that it can also be passed via shared utensils, towels and clothing, as well as physical contact and by touching contaminated surfaces and toys.

How long is a person with hand, foot and mouth disease contagious?

You are most contagious during the first few days of being sick, often before the blisters appear. Once these blisters dry up, you are less likely to pass on the virus.

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Hand Foot And Mouth Disease Is Common

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 Long Is Hand Foot And Mouth Disease Contagious

Individuals with HFMD can be contagious during the incubation period before symptoms develop and may remain contagious for days or weeks after the symptoms and signs abate. Even people with mild or no symptoms and signs during infection can be contagious. People are most contagious during the first week after symptoms and signs develop.

Whats Your Outlook If You Have Hand Foot And Mouth Disease

Hand Foot Mouth Contagious Period

HFMD should clear up in about 7 to 10 days. Youll want to notify your doctor if symptoms get worse or last longer than 10 days.

The body typically builds up an immunity to HFMD after having it, so the chances of getting it again are low. Though, since a number of viruses are responsible for HFMD, its possible to get it again from a different virus.

Very rarely, HFMD may lead to:

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Infectious Agent Of Hand Foot And Mouth Disease

The major agents causing hand, foot and mouth disease are the human enteroviruses species A, particularly coxsackievirus A16 and enterovirus 71 . These belong to the genus Enterovirus within the family Picornaviridae.

Coxsackievirus A6 and coxsackievirus A10 are also associated with HFMD, and herpangina .

Human hand, foot and mouth disease is unrelated to the foot-and-mouth disease of animals .

How Do I Know Someone Has Hand Foot And Mouth Disease

In general, HFMD is diagnosed by the characteristic symptoms and signs of sores on the hands, feet, and mouth, along with the patient’s history, age, and probability of association with a child or other person with the disease.

If the patient has a severe HFMD, throat and stool samples for viral cultures can be used to identify the viral strain causing the disease. This test may diagnose the disease definitively and provide physicians with evidence of an outbreak in their area.

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How To Treat Hand Foot And Mouth Disease Yourself

You cannot take antibiotics or medicines to cure hand, foot and mouth disease. It usually gets better on its own in 7 to 10 days.

To help the symptoms:

  • drink fluids to prevent dehydration avoid acidic drinks, such as fruit juice
  • eat soft foods like yoghurt avoid hot and spicy foods
  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen to help ease a sore mouth or throat

How Can This Disease Be Prevented

8 Effective Home Remedies for Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease in Children

You can take several precautions to avoid contracting this infection. Although it is mild, its better to follow the saying: prevention is better than cure.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly: This is important especially after changing diapers and using the washroom. Wash thoroughly with soap and water, and if that is not available, hand wipes or sanitizers will do the trick.
  • Clean common areas well: Bedrooms and living rooms are common hub spots of infection. Thats why its important to disinfect these areas with soap and water and then with diluted bleach and water. While youre doing the common areas, clean your childs soft toys, and pacifiers too, since the infection can remain on them for days.
  • Teach proper hygiene to your children: Encourage your children to wash their hands before meals, and explain why its best not to put their fingers, or any object in their mouth.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease in children is usually not serious, but it is quite contagious. But, with a couple of home remedies, and advice from your doctor, your child should feel better in a few days. To prevent your child from getting other infections, following a vaccination schedule is important. To help you to keep track of all your childs immunizations, you can also make use of apps like ImmunifyMe. In addition to that, you can schedule appointments with your pediatrician virtually, and even store prescriptions.

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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.

Treatment For Hand Foot And Mouth Disease

HFMD is a mild illness that resolves within a week. There is no specific treatment and usually none is required.

Use paracetamol as directed for fever and any discomfort. Offer plenty of fluids, but avoid orange juice, which is acidic and may cause pain with mouth ulcers.

Allow blisters to dry naturally. Do not pierce blisters, as the fluid within them is infectious.

If a child with HFMD complains of severe headache, if fever persists, of if there are any worrying symptoms, consult your doctor immediately.

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How Long Does Hand Foot And Mouth Disease Last

The total duration of illness from HFMD is approximately 5-7 days.

  • One to three days after the viral invasion of the patient, the first symptoms become evident. These include fever, reduced appetite, sore throat, and a general sense of feeling ill .
  • One to two days later, the characteristic painful mouth sores develop.
  • The final stage of the illness is manifested by small, tender red spots that progress to blisters in the mouth, palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and less frequently on the arms and legs, as well as the buttock and genital areas.

What Are The Symptoms And Signs Of The Coxsackievirus

Infected Children Enterovirus Handfootmouth Disease Infographics Stock ...

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.
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    Who Is At Risk For Hand Foot And Mouth Disease

    Young children have the highest risk for getting HFMD. Risk increases if they attend daycare or school, as viruses can spread quickly in these facilities.

    Children usually build up immunity to the disease after being exposed to the viruses that cause it. This is why the condition rarely affects people over age 10.

    However, its still possible for older children and adults to get the infection, especially if they have weakened immune systems.

    What Is The Course Of Hand Foot And Mouth Disease

    • The illness is characteristically self-limited and is usually resolved within a week, particularly when due to its most common cause, Coxsackievirus A16.
    • In those outbreaks due to enterovirus 71, the illness may be more severe with complications such as infection of the heart muscle and/or viral meningitis and encephalitis, and paralytic disease.
    • As a rule, HFMD is generally a mild and self-limited illness.

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    Tips To Reduce The Spread Of Hand Foot And Mouth Disease

    You can do several things to prevent or reduce the spread of hand, foot and mouth disease:

    • Wash your hands often, especially after changing diapers.
    • Disinfect any contaminated surfaces with a water and bleach or sanitizing wipes.
    • Wash your childs clothing, bedding and any other soiled items.
    • Stay away from other people, especially during the first few days of the illness. If your child becomes infected, prevent spread by keeping them home from daycare, school or any other group activity. If you are infected, be sure to stay home from work or school.

    What Are The Symptoms

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

    At first your child may feel tired, get a sore throat, or have a fever of around 38.3 C to 39.4 C . Then in a day or two, sores or blisters may appear in or on the mouth and on the hands, feet, and sometimes the buttocks. In some cases a skin rash may appear before the blisters do. The blisters may break open and crust over.

    The sores and blisters usually go away in a week or so.

    In some cases there are no symptoms, or they are very mild. Parents may get the disease from their children and not even realize it.

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    Hand Foot And Mouth Disease

    Expert reviewer Dr Adrian Raby, General PractitionerNext review due November 2023

    Hand, foot and mouth disease is a common childhood viral illness. It causes blisters on your hands and feet, and ulcers in your mouth. While it may be unpleasant, its generally mild and you usually recover within a week or two.

    Hand, foot and mouth disease has no relation to foot and mouth disease, which only affects cattle, sheep and pigs.

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    Can Adults Get Hand Foot And Mouth Disease

    An adult who was never exposed to the viruses that cause HFMD as a child could develop the characteristic symptoms and physical signs if infected by the virus.

    • Interestingly, the majority of adults exposed to enteroviruses will remain without symptoms.
    • Unfortunately, an infected person is still contagious even though he lacks objective physical findings.

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