Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a viral infection that tends to affect young children. However, it’s not uncommon for adults who work with kids to get it, too. Because there is no cure, those who contract the virus must let it run its course, which can cause some discomfort. Therefore, pediatricians advise parents to take steps to prevent it altogether. Here is what you should know about this condition so you can protect your family and others.
Causes & Symptoms
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is most commonly caused by a nonpolio enterovirus known as coxsackievirus A16. Typically, the infection arises following oral ingestion of the virus and then spreads to others through nasal secretions, throat discharge, saliva, fluid from blisters, and stool.
The symptoms include fever, sore throat, loss of appetite, and irritability. In addition, people may notice distinctive red lesions in the mouth and blisters on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. However, make sure to get confirmation of this diagnosis from a pediatrician.
Treatment & Prevention
Because of the nature of the disease, antibiotics are ineffective at speeding recovery. But over-the-counter medications may help relieve the worst of the symptoms. For example, a pediatrician might recommend acetaminophen or ibuprofen, as well as a topical oral anesthetic.
The most effective way to prevent hand, foot, and mouth disease is to practice good hygiene. Teach your children about the importance of washing their hands and disinfect surfaces that are likely to harbor viruses, like doorknobs and keyboards.
If your child is exhibiting symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease, turn to a pediatrician at Children & Adolescent Clinic in Hastings and Grand Island, NE. As a leading children’s hospital, they are available 24/7 and offer comprehensive care for infants, toddlers, children, and young adults. To learn more about this clinic's services, visit their website. To make an appointment in Hastings, call (402) 463-6828. To talk to someone in Grand Island, call (308) 675-3171.