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The Hood Magazine

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease- What Parents Need to Know from Sanford Health

Sep 01, 2021 05:07PM ● By The Hood Magazine

By: The Hood Magazine

If you have a child under five, chances are you have heard about Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD). This fairly common virus is currently making headlines for its spread across the community. 

Dana Dohman, APRN, CNP, a specialist in pediatric care with Sanford Health is sharing with us what HFMD is, and what we, as parents, need to know.

Hand, Foot anfgvb d Mouth Disease is a virus, commonly caused by the Coxsackievirus or Enterovirus. This virus is highly contagious and can be spread through respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing, fluid from the blisters that can form and even through dirty diapers; which is why HFMD can spread quickly through a daycare or classroom. Because the virus can easily pass from person to person, it is extra important to remember to take time for proper hand washing and making sure toys and contaminated surfaces are getting disinfected. 

If your child is exposed, some symptoms to watch for are fevers, general feeling of unwell, red blister-like lesions on the hands and feet, and mouth sores that can cause pain and excessive drooling, especially in young children.. 

Because HFMD is a virus, symptoms can usually be managed at home. Dana explains that Tylenol or Ibuprofen can help with fevers and pain from mouth lesions. She also recommends that if your child is experiencing pain in their mouth offer cool drinks and even ice chips for older children where choking doesn’t pose a risk. Mouth lesions can make your child not want to eat or drink, and Dana says that is something to keep an eye on. If your child is experiencing any signs of dehydration such as less frequent wet diapers, then your child needs to be seen by a healthcare provider. 

Children can be contagious on average up to 7-10 days. Dana said as long as your child has a fever, frequent drooling, or oozing blisters on their hands and feet they are highly contagious and should remain home and out of school or daycare.

Dana also shared, one other thing to watch for is 3-4 weeks following the virus, spots where there were blisters can peel. While this can seem slightly unsettling for parents, this is normal and all a part of the virus.