Hand, Foot, And Mouth Disease
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is an infection caused by a virus. HFMD is easily spread from person to person through direct contact. Anyone can get HFMD, but it is most common in children younger than 10 years.
- Mouthwash: Your primary healthcare provider may give you special mouthwash to help relieve mouth pain caused by the sores.
- Acetaminophen: This medicine is used to decrease pain and lower a high body temperature (fever). Taking too much acetaminophen can hurt your liver. Read labels so that you know the active ingredients in each medicine that you take. Talk to your caregiver before taking more than one medicine that contains acetaminophen. Ask your caregiver before taking over-the-counter medicine if you are also taking pain medicine prescribed (ordered) for you.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medicine may decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine can be bought with or without a doctor's order. This medicine can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your primary healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow the directions on it before using this medicine.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Drink at least 9 cups of liquid each day to prevent dehydration. One cup is 8 ounces. Water and milk are good choices because they will not irritate your mouth or throat.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Prevent the spread of hand, foot, and mouth disease:
You can spread the virus for weeks after your symptoms have gone away. The following can help prevent the spread of HFMD:
- Wash your hands and your child's hands often. This will help prevent the spread of germs. Encourage everyone in your house to wash their hands with soap and water after going to the bathroom. Also wash hands after changing diapers and before preparing or eating food.
- Avoid close contact with others: Do not kiss, hug, or share food or drink. Ask your child's school or daycare if you need to keep your child home while he has symptoms of HFMD.
- Clean surfaces well: Wash all items and surfaces with diluted bleach. This includes toys, tables, counter tops, and door knobs.
Contact your primary healthcare provider if:
- Your mouth or throat are so sore you cannot eat or drink.
- Your fever, sore throat, mouth sores, or rash do not go away after 10 days.
- You have questions about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You urinate less than normal or not at all.
- You have a severe headache, stiff neck, and back pain.
- You have trouble moving, or cannot move part of your body.
- You become confused and sleepy.
- You have trouble breathing, are breathing very fast, or you cough up pink, foamy spit.
- You have a seizure.
- You have a high fever and your heart is beating much faster than it normally does.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.