How to Recognize the Symptoms of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

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Recognize the Symptoms of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease
Recognize the Symptoms of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

How to Recognize the Symptoms of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. Hand, foot and mouth disease is a minor illness. There is no treatment necessary and the infection should clear up within the week. However, before you can stop worrying, you'll have to recognize the symptoms.

Recognize the Symptoms of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

Notice that the child begins to feel under the weather. The first sign of the illness in a small child will be the loss of appetite for solid foods.

Check the child's temperature. A fever usually accompanies the initial stages of the disease. It should be a normal fever and nothing dangerous.

Expect the child to start complaining about a sore throat. There may not be any sores at first (those come later), but discomfort in the throat will start early.

Examine the child's mouth. In a few days, there might be red spots. These are sores on the tongue, mouth and throat. Over time they may develop into blisters or ulcers and can be quite uncomfortable.

Look at the palms of the child's hands and the soles of the feet. Late in the illness, flat or raised red spots (a rash) can form in these locations. Sometimes, in infants, the rash will occur in the diaper area, too. The rash does not itch.

Keep checking the mouth, hands and feet of the child on a daily basis. After flaring up, each of the symptoms should go away within the week.

Search for the coxsackievirus or related virus in the case of a lab test. Those are the prime causes of the hand, foot and mouth disease. If another virus is present, it may be a different illness.

Do not be surprised or worried if the patient suffers from a headache too. A headache is a common symptom of hand, foot and mouth disease.

Tips & Warnings

  • Not every patient of the disease will experience every symptom. Just because a child has only one or two of the symptoms does not mean that the child does not have hand, foot and mouth disease.
  • If you begin to recognize any of these symptoms, be careful. Hand, foot and mouth disease is highly contagious. An adult will most likely not contract it, but any siblings or playmates of the infected child probably will.
  • Hand, foot and mouth disease is often confused with strep throat, because both start out the same way, with fever and a sore throat. Make the right diagnosis by knowing the difference between the two illnesses.

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