HAND, foot and mouth is a common infection that can cause ulcers and blisters on children.
But how can it be treated and does it affect adults? Here’s what you need to know.
What is hand, foot and mouth disease?
Hand, foot and mouth disease is an infection caused by a virus and begins with a high temperature, loss of appetite, a cough and a sore throat and mouth.
Around two days later red, flat, discoloured bumps appear on the hands, feel, inside the mouth and sometimes the bum.
These spots can start to blister.
Painful ulcers can also develop, which can put kids off eating and drinking.
Can adults get hand, foot and mouth disease?
Though children aged 10 and under are more likely to catch it, it can affect older children and adults as well.
The infection is not related to foot and mouth disease, which affects cattle, sheep and pigs.
How to treat hand, foot and mouth?
There is no cure for hand, foot and mouth disease so you have to let it run its course.
The best thing to do is to stay at home until you are feeling better.
To help ease the symptoms you can:
- Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration – water and milk are ideal
- Eat soft foods such as mashed potatoes, yogurt and soups if eating and swallowing is uncomfortable. Avoid hot, acidic or spicy foods and drinks.
- Over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can ease a sore throat and fever.
- Gargling with warm, salty water can relieve discomfort from mouth ulcers or you can use mouth gels, rinses or sprays.
How to stop hand, foot and mouth spreading?
There are a number of steps which can be taken to prevent hand, foot and mouth but the disease is not always possible to avoid.
- Using tissues to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
- Washing your hands with soap and water often
- Disinfect surfaces or objects which could be contaminated
- Wash any bedding or clothing which could be contaminated
Meanwhile, children should be kept away from nursery or school until they are feeling better.
Adults should also stay away from work.
Medical attention is not usually needed unless:
- Your child is unable or unwilling to drink fluids
- Your child has signs of dehydration
- Your child develops fits, confusion or weakness.
- The symptoms are getting worse or have not improved after seven to 10 days.
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