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Hand foot and Mouth Disease

What is it?

Hand foot and mouth disease is caused by a virus. It usually affects children under 10 years but can occur in adults, too.

How do I know if someone has it?

The illness usually starts suddenly with a sore throat, elevated temperature (fever) and blisters develop inside the mouth and throat. Blisters may also appear on the palms, fingers and soles.

Is it infectious?

The infection can be acquired when a person has  close contact with discharges from the nose or throat of a person who is in the acute stage of illness. The feces stools are also infectious during the illness and may continue to be infectious for several weeks even after the person feels well.

What is the incubation period?

Illness usually appears 3 to 5 days after a person has been in close contact with an infected person.

Is there any treatment?

There is no specific treatment for the infection. The infected person will get better on their own without treatment. The blisters in the mouth usually clear within 4 to 6 days and the blisters on the body usually last for 7 to 10 days.

What should I do if someone has illness?

•    A child who has a temperature (fever) should be kept cool by a fan and reducing the amount of clothing/bedding. If advised by a doctor or nurse, give paracetamol   in the dose prescribed for the child’s age.
•    Always washyour hands after using handkerchiefs. Only single use paper handkerchiefs disposed right after cleaning the child´s nose should be used.
•    Make sure that a person with the illness washes hands with soap water after using the toilet and before handling or eating food.
•    Make sure the toilet is kept clean.
•    If worried seek advice from your GP.

How soon can someone with the illness return to school?

A child should stay away from school while  feeling ill and while having obvious blisters, or as long as advised by the GP.