Child Health

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD)

Hand, foot and mouth disease:
It is a non-dangerous but highly contagious viral disease. It spreads quickly in schools and nurseries and is common in infants and children under the age of 5, but it can affect older children and adults. Most people infected with it experience mild symptoms for 7 to 10 days.

Transportation methods:
During infection, the virus is found in secretions from the nose and throat (such as saliva or nasal mucus) and fluid from blisters and stool, so it can be transmitted through:

  • Close contact with the infected person (such as: hugging, sharing cups or eating utensils).
  • Droplets flying from the infected person when he sneezes, coughs, or speaks.
  • Touching surfaces (such as: door handles or toys, then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth) and contaminated objects (such as: changing diapers, then touching the eyes, nose, or mouth).

Infectious period:
Infected people are usually most contagious during the first week they are sick, yet they can still spread the virus to others for days or weeks after symptoms disappear, or even if they have no symptoms at all.


  • High body temperature and flu-like symptoms.
  • Mouth ulcers, often on the tongue and inside the mouth, which can become painful.
  • Inability to swallow and desire to drink only cold liquids.
  • Drooling more than usual.
  • The rash (usually not itchy and looks like flat, fluid-filled red spots) most commonly appears on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. It can also appear on the buttocks, legs, and arms.

When to see a doctor:

  • The child cannot drink normally.
  • High body temperature for more than 3 days.
  • Symptoms do not improve after 10 days.
  • When the infected person is an infant less than 6 months old.
  • If the child suffers from a weak immune system.

Most people with hand, foot, and mouth disease get better on their own within 7 to 10 days, and there is no specific medical treatment for it. Some steps can be taken to relieve symptoms and prevent dehydration:

  • Giving the child medications that help reduce fever and relieve pain resulting from mouth ulcers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, while avoiding giving the child aspirin.
  • Drink a sufficient amount of fluids to keep the body hydrated and prevent dehydration.


  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and if soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains alcohol.
  • Always wash hands after changing diapers, after using the toilet, after coughing or sneezing, and before and after caring for someone who is sick.
  • Helping children wash their hands, teaching them how to wash their hands, and making sure they wash them correctly.
  • Help children keep pimples clean and avoid touching them.
  • Avoid close contact with people who have the disease (e.g. hugging).
  • Avoid touching unclean eyes, nose, mouth and hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and shared objects (such as door handles).

Instructions for those with hand, foot, and mouth disease:

  • Leave the blisters to dry naturally, avoid touching, playing or squeezing them.
  • Wash hands with soap and water, especially children.
  • Use tissues when coughing or sneezing and dispose of them in the designated place.
  • Avoid sharing towels or household items (such as cups or cutlery).
  • Wash bedding and dirty clothes with hot water.
  • Keep the infected child out of school or nursery when they feel symptoms, and they can return when they feel better.
  • Eat soft foods (such as mashed potatoes, yogurt, and soup) if eating and swallowing are uncomfortable, and avoid hot, acidic, or spicy foods and drinks.
  • Gargling with warm salt water is for adults, not children, to relieve the discomfort of mouth ulcers without swallowing it.
  • Clean and sterilize toys that may have come into contact with the child’s saliva.
  • Protect other children in the home by not having close contact with the infected child (such as: kissing, hugging, sharing cups and utensils).

Last Update : 25 September 2023 02:17 PM
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