What are the symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease

Maternal and child health

What are the symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease?


Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common childhood illness caused by a virus. It is spread through contact with the saliva or mucus of an infected person. Symptoms usually develop within 3-7 days after exposure to the virus.

Symptoms of HFMD

The most common symptoms of HFMD are:


Sore throat

Loss of appetite



Muscle aches

Skin rash

The rash associated with HFMD typically develops on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. It can also appear on the buttocks, genitals, and inside the mouth. The rash consists of small, red bumps that may blister or become filled with fluid.

Other symptoms of HFMD can include:




Abdominal pain

Conjunctivitis (pink eye)

Complications of HFMD

In most cases, HFMD is a mild illness that resolves on its own within 7-10 days. However, in some cases, the virus can lead to more serious complications, such as:

Meningitis (infection of the brain and spinal cord)

Encephalitis (infection of the brain)

Myocarditis (infection of the heart muscle)

Pneumonia (infection of the lungs)

These complications are rare, but they can be life-threatening. If you experience any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention immediately:

Severe headache

Stiff neck



Difficulty breathing

Chest pain

Abdominal pain

Vomiting blood

Diarrhea for more than 24 hours

Treatment for HFMD

There is no specific treatment for HFMD. Treatment is supportive and aims to relieve symptoms. Treatment may include:



Over-the-counter pain relievers

Antiviral medications (in some cases)

Prevention of HFMD

There is no vaccine available to prevent HFMD. However, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of infection, such as:

Washing your hands frequently with soap and water

Avoiding contact with people who are sick

Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that may be contaminated with the virus

If you are infected with HFMD, it is important to stay home from work or school to avoid spreading the virus to others. You should also practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus to your family and friends.

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