Hand, foot and mouth disease, a contagious disease caused by viruses, which is common in infants and children under 5 years old appears to be sweeping through children in North Wiltshire/South Gloucestershire at the moment.

Most children have mild symptoms for 7 to 10 days and it is easily treated at home. As a less well-known disease, (and nothing to do with foot and mouth disease that affects farm animals), here is our 6-point guide for parents:

1. How it spreads

Hand, foot, and mouth disease spreads easily through     `

        Person-to-person contact

        Respiratory droplets containing virus particles when an infected coughs or sneezes

        Contact with contaminated surfaces and objects

People with hand, foot, and mouth disease are usually most contagious during the first week that they are sick. People can sometimes spread the virus to others for days or weeks after symptoms go away or if they have no symptoms at all.

Symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease usually include fever, mouth sores, and skin rash commonly found on the hands, mouth, and/or feet.

 

2. Symptoms

Children often get a fever and other flu-like symptoms after they catch the virus. Other symptoms may appear over the next few days.

      Fever and flu-like symptoms

      Mouth sores

o   Your child may get painful mouth sores. These sores usually start as small red spots, often in the back of their mouth, that blister and can become painful.

      Skin rash

o   Your child may get a skin rash on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. It may also show up on the knees, elbows, buttocks, or genital area.

o   The rash usually looks like flat, red spots, sometimes with blisters. Fluid in the blister and the resulting scab that forms as the blister heals may contain the virus that causes hand, foot, and mouth disease. Keep blisters or scabs clean and avoid touching them.

 

 

3. What to do if your child has hand, foot, and mouth disease

Often the infection is mild, and symptoms can be treated at home. 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 and fever

However, you may need to call a doctor if:

        Your child is not drinking enough to stay hydrated

        Your child’s fever lasts longer than 3 days

        Your child has a weakened immune system

        Symptoms are severe

        Symptoms do not improve after 10 days

        Your child is very young, (younger than 6 months)

 

4. Diagnosing hand, foot, and mouth disease

Diagnosis is made by examining the patient and considering their age, symptoms and the look of the rash and mouth sores. Your doctor can also take samples from the patient’s throat, blister, or faeces and then send them to a laboratory to test for the virus, but this is seldom necessary.

 

5. Complications

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is usually not serious. Nearly all people get better in 7 to 10 days with no or minimal treatment. Complications from hand, foot, and mouth disease are rare.

 

6. Prevention

Wash your hands frequently and well

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

Avoid close contact with unwell people

Stay home if you are unwell

 

 

If you are concerned about your child’s health, discuss with your doctor at the first opportunity.

 

Concierge Medical is the private family General Practice for the Cotswolds.

For more information about membership contact us at:

 

E: info@conciergemedical.co.uk

T: 01451 600 900

 

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