Hand, Foot and Mouth disease – What is it?


Hand, foot and mouth disease is a common childhood illness that usually lasts for about 7-10 days. It is contagious and can easily be passed to other people (adults included) through, coughing, sneezing and faeces.
If your child has the illness, they are infectious a few days before they show any symptoms of the illness and up until 5 days after their symptoms show.

Symptoms that suggest your child has HFM are:

• A sore throat
• A high temperature
• Not wanting to eat anything
• Mouth Ulcers
• Red spots/blisters on their hands and feet

How to treat HFM:

• Encourage your child to drink lots of fluids to avoid dehydration
• Give them soup and soft food which is easy for them to eat
• If your child’s blisters are too painful, ask your paediatrician for a medicine to ease the pain

How to prevent HFM from spreading:

• Keep your child out of school and inform the school that your child has HFM so they can inform other parents.
• Wash yours and your child’s hands as often as possible with anti-bacterial soap.
• Encourage your child to use tissues when they cough and sneeze and throw them away after use.
• Don’t share towels or household items with your infected child.
• Wash your child’s soiled sheets/clothing on a very hot wash to eliminate all bacteria.

Consult your paediatrician if:

• Your child’s symptoms don’t improve after 7-10 days
• Your child has a high fever
• Your child is not urinating often and seems dehydrated


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