Skip to Content

Hand, Foot, And Mouth Disease


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 healthcare provider may give you special mouthwash to help relieve mouth pain caused by the sores.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly. Do not use more than 4 grams (4,000 milligrams) total of acetaminophen in one day.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her 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 liquids:

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 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 often. Use soap and water. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom, change a child's diapers, or sneeze. Wash your hands before you prepare or eat 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 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.

Seek care immediately 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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Hand, Foot, And Mouth Disease (Discharge Care)

Associated drugs

Micromedex® Care Notes