Hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD) is a viral infection that commonly occurs in young children. It does develop rarely in adults but regularly affects only kids below the age of ten years.
The primary cause of HFMD is the coxsackie virus A16, which belongs to a group of microbes termed as nonpolio enteroviruses. This virus enters the body of children by oral means, as little ones often touch or brush past several dirty objects both at home and outside, with their hands and feet and they tend to put their hands in their mouths.
Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is a contagious illness characterized by sores and blisters in the exposed regions of the body but is usually a minor infection that is treatable.
Risk factors consist of any object upon which dust particles containing the coxsackie virus can settle, such as toys, balls, and doorknobs. Therefore, the best way to prevent this viral ailment from affecting your children is to ensure thorough and frequent washing of their hands with a sanitizing liquid as well as avoiding contact with other kids who might be infected.
Moreover, parents should also disinfect common play areas of their kids as well as impart good hygiene practices, to shield the young ones from contracting HFMD.
The typical symptoms exhibited by children who have hand-foot-and-mouth disease include:
- Sore throat
- Prominently red blisters on tongue, mouth and gums
- Inflamed rashes on palms of hands and soles of feet
- Loss of appetite
- Sores on back and buttocks
- Congestion in nasal passage
Diagnosis And Treatment:
The paediatrician carefully examines the severity of fevers, pattern in which other symptoms develop and the appearance of the sores and blisters. He or she will also take a tissue sample from the throat, to identify which virus is causing the infection.
Once it is confirmed that the patient has hand-foot-and-mouth disease, remedial steps are recommended, to alleviate the symptoms.
There is no specific treatment for HFMD, as it is a mild instance that does not lead to any severe consequences, with the fever generally subsiding in one week. The doctor will prescribe topical anaesthetics, to pacify the discomfort experienced by the child with mouth sores. The medical practitioner also advises the intake of pain-relieving medications, to ease body aches.
Certain lifestyle modifications such as steering clear of acidic beverages and spicy foods, rinsing the mouth with warm salt water after meals and drinking cold milk will soothe any irritation in affected children and aid in a speedy and complete recovery from fever, body pain and red sores.