Advertisement

What is hand, foot and mouth disease?

Hand, foot and mouth disease is caused by a particular strain of the coxsackie virus. It causes typical symptoms of mouth sores, and painful lesions on the hands and feet, hence its name. Rarely, it can also cause inflammation of the brain and meninges.
Hand-foot-mouth disease is an infection that is usually caused by a virus called coxsackievirus, but can be caused by other viruses, as well. Hand-foot-mouth disease is most common in children under age 10, but teens and adults can also get it. It is spread from person to person much like a common cold, through sneezes or coughs, by touching surfaces a sick person has touched, or by touching other body fluids from a person who has the virus. Symptoms include a sore throat, headache, fever, loss of appetite and sores in the mouth or throat. There may also be small, tender blisters on the hands, feet or diaper area. Since antibiotics don't work for viruses, treatment involves keeping the fever down and getting plenty of fluids. Sometimes, hand-foot-mouth disease is confused with foot-and-mouth disease, but these are two different diseases. Hand-foot-mouth disease affects humans, while foot-and-mouth disease affects animals with hoofed feet.

Continue Learning about Infectious Disease

Ask Oz and Roizen: Cleaning Pacifiers and a More Effective Shingles Vaccine
Ask Oz and Roizen: Cleaning Pacifiers and a More Effective Shingles Vaccine
Q: My one-year-old daughter occasionally drops her pacifier on the ground. I just clean it off in my mouth and hand it back to her. My mom says that’s...
Read More
How is viral meningitis treated in children?
Univ. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family MedicineUniv. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family Medicine
The primary treatment for viral meningitis in children is supportive care. This means giving the chi...
More Answers
5 Weird Diseases You Thought Were Gone
5 Weird Diseases You Thought Were Gone5 Weird Diseases You Thought Were Gone5 Weird Diseases You Thought Were Gone5 Weird Diseases You Thought Were Gone
These blasts from the past continue to make people sick.
Start Slideshow
What Do We Really Know about Malaria Today?
What Do We Really Know about Malaria Today?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.