How to Deal with Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

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Hand, foot, and mouth Disease is a common childhood illness that almost all kids experience before they head to kindergarten. Hand, foot, and mouth Disease is characterized by a sore throat, fever, and painful blisters that can appear in the child’s mouth, on the palms of their hands, or on the soles of their feet. Parents often first notice that their child is a little bit tired or feverish, or that they have a sore throat. The associated sores usually appear one to two days after the fever is gone.

If your child has hand, foot, and mouth you might wonder how they caught it and what you can do to help them feel better.

Hand, foot, and mouth Disease is very contagious and can be spread by having close contact with an infected person or by touching a surface that’s been touched by an infected person. While most people wouldn’t spend time with a child who is actively sick, hand, foot, and mouth is often contagious before the infected person shows any symptoms and knows to stay at home. 

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If you believe your child is showing the signs of hand, foot, and mouth Disease, it is worth a call to their doctor even though they won’t be able to provide any medicine that will treat the condition. Because hand, foot, and mouth is caused by a virus, antibiotics won’t hasten its departure.

While you won’t be able to cure your child’s hand, foot and mouth, there are several comfort measure you can take to reduce your child pain and discomfort as the disease runs its natural course. Some ways to provide relief to your child include:

  • Giving them over the counter pain relief medication like children’s Tylenol (following the appropriate dosing for their age and size)
  • Using numbing spray or gel to alleviate pain or discomfort in a child’s mouth
  • Giving a warm bath to alleviate pain from sores on their hands and feel
  • Providing lots of extra cuddles, snuggles, and books

Though it’s very uncomfortable, hand, foot, and mouth disease usually passes without any serious effects. In some cases, a child who is unable to swallow due to painful sores may get dehydrated or a fever may become dangerously high. If you’re worried about your child you should always call their doctor for advice.   

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How to Deal with Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. She is writing a memoir on pregnancy, motherhood, and sisterhood and lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. ... More

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