What to do if You Suspect Your Child Has Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease
This fall, keep an eye out for the symptoms of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD). HFMD is a common illness that tends to crop up most frequently in the Summer and Fall and is characterized by a rash on the hands, feet, and mouth. Although anyone can get HFMD, it occurs most often in young children under age 5.
What is HFM?
HFMD is a viral infection resulting in a rash of tiny, painful, red bumps or blisters on the palms of your hands, on the soles of your feet, inside your mouth, and in between your fingers and toes. In your mouth, the rash may look like ulcers and is usually clustered toward the back of the throat.
HFMD, along with many other common childhood diseases, is highly contagious and can be spread through contact with an infected person, contact with airborne droplets from an infected person, and contact with contaminated surfaces and objects, such as toys, countertops, and doorknobs.
How to prevent HFMD
There are a variety of things you can do to reduce or prevent transmission.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. This is especially important after using the toilet, changing a diaper, and before eating or preparing food.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If your child is sick, keep them home from school or daycare until they are symptom- and fever-free for at least 24 hours.
- Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces. This includes toys, doorknobs, and countertops.
Managing and Treating HFMD
Like many childhood diseases, there is no specific treatment for HFMD. However, most children can be treated at home, and there are things you can do to help them feel better:
- Give them over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen (for children who are older than six months).
- Make sure they drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
- Offer them soft, easy-to-swallow foods, such as ice cream, yogurt, and applesauce.
- Avoid spicy, salty, citrus, and crunchy foods.
- Apply a cool compress to the rash.
- Keep their nails trimmed short to prevent them from scratching the rash.
When to Contact a Healthcare Provider
Most children recover from HFMD within 7 to 10 days. However, if your child has any of the following symptoms, call your doctor:
- Your child has HFMD symptoms and is less than 6 months old
- Fever over 102 degrees Fahrenheit or lasts longer than 3 days
- Symptoms are severe
- Your child has a weakened immune system
Comprehensive Care with Hello Pediatrics
At Hello Pediatrics, we believe that every child is unique, and we tailor our care to meet the needs of each patient. We also value communication and collaboration with parents and work closely with you and your Primary Care Pediatrician to create a personalized healthcare plan for your child.
If your child suddenly develops HFMD symptoms and your regular Pediatrician isn’t available, Hello Pediatrics can put you in touch with one of our board-certified Pediatricians for assistance. We offer video telehealth services so you can access quality, after-hours healthcare from the comfort of your own home.
For more information about our general pediatrics or to schedule an appointment with a licensed pediatrician to assess your child for Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, please visit our website or reach out to us at (855) 576-8745. At Hello Pediatrics, we provide accessible, timely care for your child, supported by experienced and caring medical professionals.