Hand, foot and mouth disease is a mild viral infection. The child has blisters on hands, feet and in the mouth. Some children have a light fever, headache and a cold. The illness lasts for 1 week. It requires no treatment.
Hand, foot and mouth disease is not very common. It especially attacks small children. The illness is caused by a certain virus (Coxsakievirus). It occurs most often during summer and fall. Hand, foot and mouth disease has nothing to do with the foot-and-mouth disease animals have. The illness is only found with humans.
The illness is not dangerous and most children barely notice that they have it. The child is unaffected by the illness and plays, watches TV or listens to music as usual. Most children have a light fever, headache, diarrhoea and a cold, a couple of days before the rash appears.
The rash appears on hands and feet as 2-4 millimetre elongated blisters surrounded by a red ring. The blisters especially appear on heals and around the root of the nails. In the mouth, blisters appear that quickly bursts and become wounds. The blisters in the mouth bother the child and stings, especially when it drinks or eats. There is no reason to use mouthwash even though the blisters in the mouth turn yellowish – it is a natural part of the process. A few children have blisters other places, for example on the arms or on the bottom.
The illness lasts a week or so. The illness requires no treatment. It disappears by itself.