Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HMFD) is an infectious viral infection that causes blisters on the mouth and red spots on the hands and feet. Blisters in the mouth that resemble thrush are painful. After there is thrush, the red spots will appear on the skin, especially on the fingers, palms, and back of the hands and feet.
Sometimes the red spots also appear on the buttocks and groin. The red spots can turn into small blisters and sometimes itchy and uncomfortable. Hand Foot and Mouth Disease that affects children under 5 years old is caused by enteroviruses and transmitted by coughing, sneezing, or through feces infected by the virus and by mouth.
Hand Foot and Mouth Disease Causes
The main causes of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease are the Coxsackie A16 virus from the nonpolio enterovirus group. Someone can get the virus when exposed to the saliva, runny nose, phlegm of the sufferer, and the droplets of saliva that they remove when sneezing or coughing. In addition, feces and fluids from blisters on the skin can also be an intermediary for the transmission of this virus.
Generally, the coxsackievirus enters the digestive tract. Viruses in the patient’s body will easily spread to others during the first week of illness. Even so, the virus can still be present in the patient’s body for weeks after the symptoms disappear. So, they can still transmit the disease to others. Most cases of this disease are mild and can heal on their own within seven to ten days.
Hand Foot and Mouth Disease Symptoms
The symptoms of this disease generally only appear 3 to 5 days after exposure to a viral infection. The initial symptoms can be:
- Sprue in the mouth and sore throat
- A cough
- Tired and lethargic
- Decreased appetite
- Fuss in children
- Red lesions and blisters on the tongue, gums and inner cheeks
- No itchy red spots on the palms, soles of the feet, and sometimes on the buttocks
This disease actually is a mild condition. However, it is recommended to see a doctor for help if the symptoms are:
- A fever with a temperature of ≥38 degrees Celsius in patients under three months of age or fever with a temperature of ≥39 degrees Celsius in patients under six months
- The skin feels very sore, hot, red and swollen, and gets pus
- Cannot or do not want to drink
- Signs of dehydration such as no response, little or no urine, and cold hands and feet
- The patient experienced seizures, weakness or loss of consciousness
- When symptoms get worse and do not improve after seven to ten days
Hand Foot and Mouth Disease Treatment
This disease usually does not require special care. To help relieve the symptoms that are experienced by sufferers, several things can be done such as:
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- Give a lot of drinking to avoid dehydration
- Give the thrush medicine in the form of mouthwash or ointment to reduce the severity of the symptom
- Provide cold drinks including ice cream to help reduce pain due to blisters in the mouth
- Do not give food or drink that feels sour or spicy because it can aggravate the pain
- Providing soft foods that do not need to be chewed and easily swallowed
- Advise the sufferers to rinse with warm water after eating. If they can gargle without swallowing, suggest them to rinse with warm water mixed with salt to relieve pain and swelling
If you still feel pain and fever, give the drug acetaminophen or ibuprofen which is sold freely. Be careful when using drugs and follow the instructions listed on the packaging.
Hand Foot and Mouth Disease is an infectious viral infection that causes blisters on the mouth and red spots on the hands and feet. Most cases of this disease are mild and can heal on their own within seven to ten days. However, you can take to the doctor to get proper treatment.