Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease – Condition

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Overview

Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a highly contagious condition that can spread quickly. The coxsackievirus, which is a member of the Enterovirus genus, is the most common cause of the disease.

Hands that are not clean or surfaces that have been contaminated with feces can spread these infections from person to person. Being exposed to the saliva, feces, or respiratory secretions of an infected person can also cause the virus to spread.

Blisters or sores in the mouth, as well as a rash on the hands and feet, are all signs of HFMD. In spite of the fact that the virus can infect people of any age, children under the age of five are affected the most.

In most cases, a minor illness subsides on its own within a couple of days of being diagnosed.

Specific treatment for HFM disease is not currently available. Handwashing frequently and avoiding close contact with people who are sick with this disease can help to reduce your child’s risk of contracting the disease.

Causes

The most common cause of this disease is an infection with a coxsackievirus strain, most commonly coxsackievirus A16, which is transmitted through the bloodstream. The coxsackievirus is an enterovirus that belongs to the genus Coxsackievirus. It is responsible for the transmission of the disease. In some cases, other types of enteroviruses, such as rotaviruses, can also cause HFMD in addition to the ones listed above.

It is very easy for viruses to be spread from one person to another through unintentional contact. You or your child may contract HFMD if you or your child is exposed to an infected individual.

Direct contact with unclean hands or with a surface that has remnants of the virus can also cause HFMD to be spread through unintentional transmission. A few of the factors that contribute to the spread of the virus include the following:

·         Blister fluid

·         Feces

·         Saliva

·         Respiratory droplets sprayed into the air after coughing or sneezing

Especially vulnerable are children under the age of five, who are particularly susceptible to the spread of HFMD. When outbreaks of the disease occur in childcare centers, children are particularly vulnerable. This is because the disease spreads through person-to-person contact and that children particularly have weak immune systems.

The production of antibodies after being exposed to the virus that causes the illness results in the development of immunity in children as they grow older, which protects them against this disease.

Symptoms

One of the common disease symptoms is blisters. On the tongue, gums, and inside of the cheeks, there are painful, red, blister-like sores. Some of the other HFMD signs or symptoms are:

·         A non-itchy red rash that can blister on the palms, soles, buttocks, and other areas.

·         Irritability in infants and toddlers.

·         Appetite loss

·         Fever

·         Sore throat

Between the time of infection and the appearance of signs and symptoms, the incubation period is typically three to six days in length. An elevated temperature is the most common symptom of hand, foot, and mouth disease. A sore throat, loss of appetite, and general feeling of being sick are the next most common symptoms.

It is possible to develop painful sores in the front of the mouth or throat one or two days after the fever first appears. A rash on the hands and feet may appear within one or two days of exposure to the sunlight.

Having sores on the back of the tongue and in the throat could be an indication that your child is suffering from herpangina, a viral illness. An increase in body temperature that occurs suddenly, as well as a seizure in rare cases, are all possible consequences of herpangina. Sores on the hands, feet, or other parts of the body are extremely rare in this condition.

Diagnosis

The doctor will most likely be able to tell the difference between this disease and other viral diseases based on the following criteria:

·         The age of the individual who has been afflicted

·         The occurrence of specific symptoms and signs in a predetermined sequence of events.

·         The appearance of a rash or lesions on the skin

Your doctor may send a swab of your throat or a stool sample to a laboratory in order to determine which virus caused your illness.

Treatment

There is currently no treatment or vaccine available for hand, foot, and mouth disease. Antibiotics will not be effective in treating this condition because it is caused by a virus. In most cases, it goes away on its own within 7 to 10 days. A topical oral anesthetic is also given sometimes as it helps relieve the pain of mouth sores. Following are the available treatment options:

·Pain relievers, as well as numbing mouth sprays, readily alleviate the symptoms.

·Ice pops, yogurt, and smoothies are all cold treats that can help soothe a sore throat.

·The consumption of juice and soda should be avoided because they contain acids that can irritate sores.

·Rashes can be treated with anti-itch cream.

Swishing with warm salt water may be good if your child is capable of rinsing without swallowing. Instruct your child to do this several times a day, or as often as necessary, to help ease the discomfort and inflammation produced by HFM disease mouth and throat sores.

It is important to take preventive measures in order to avoid viral transmission or the spread of the disease. The condition can be prevented by taking proper hygiene actions including the frequent washing of hands, disinfecting the surfaces, and preventing food and beverage sharing.

When to See a doctor

If your child is unable to swallow fluids due to mouth sores or a painful throat, you should consult a doctor right away. You should also seek medical attention if your child’s signs and symptoms worsen after a few days. It is crucial to see a healthcare provider if the child is not drinking enough water and the symptoms are severe without showing any sign of improvement.

If left untreated, the condition may cause complications like dehydration, viral meningitis, brain swelling, myocarditis (heart muscle swelling), and paralysis in rare conditions. Hence, it is crucial to see a doctor as soon as the signs or symptoms appear.


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