Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease is common amongst babies and toddlers. Characteristics of the condition include a rash of blisters on the hands, feet and mouth (hence, the clever name). In addition to the rash, the child may experience a sore throat, fever, and malaise. However uncomfortable the condition may be, it isn’t serious.
Like most parents, you will most undoubtedly want to rush your child to the doctor when hand, foot and mouth disease first appears. This won’t do much for the tyke, unfortunately. Like a stomach bug, it simply has to run its course. In the meantime, try to help your child be as comfortable as possible-they will need a lot of love and attention. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) will help to ease the fever and pain until the condition subsides.
The only time a serious complication could arise is if the symptoms get in the way of basic needs, such as eating. Your baby or toddler may reject their feedings because their mouth or throat is so sore. In that case, be careful that he/she doesn’t become dehydrated. Watch how often they are wetting their diapers. If a fever rises above 103 F, take your child to the doctor, as there may be another condition developing.
Children in daycare or preschool are especially susceptible to catching this illness. It is a highly contagious, viral condition that is spread through coughing and sneezing. Unfortunately, a child is most contagious before they begin to exhibit any symptoms. As a result, a child could spread it unknowingly amongst his peers or siblings. Adults do not suffer from hand, foot, and mouth disease like children, although they may feel a bit under the weather if exposed. Pregnant women should avoid all contact with the disease.
Symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease last for about 7-10 days. During this time, a child should remain out of school or daycare so that they do not expose any more children. Although most common in summer and fall, it could occur at anytime of year. Once a child is exposed to the virus, incubation takes about 3-6 days. From there, it is just a waiting game, but keep in mind that your child is in no serious danger.