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Facts About...


What is it?

Hand, Foot and Mouth disease is a common childhood infection caused by a virus that most often affects young children.

How is it spread?

Hand, Foot and Mouth disease spreads from one person to another by sneezing/coughing or contact with saliva, mucus or the stool of an infected person. The virus can persist in stool for up to 4 weeks after the start of illness and even after symptoms have resolved.

What do I look for?

A mild fever for one to two days, loss of appetite, lack of energy, headache followed by red spots often with blisters on top most commonly in the mouth, throat, palms, fingers, soles of the feet, and less commonly, the buttocks. This illness usually lasts for 7–10 days.

How is it treated?

Hand, Foot and Mouth disease is caused by a virus. There is no specific treatment.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash articles soiled with nose and throat discharges, including toys, in soapy water.
  • Wash your hands after handling discharges, soiled articles and diapers.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water or use hand sanitizers when hands are not visibly dirty.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow and encourage others to do the same.
  • Do not share water bottles, straws, eating utensils, cigarettes, toothbrushes, toys or anything else that has been in contact with saliva, nose or throat secretions.
  • If you are ill, stay at home and isolate yourself from others.

January 15, 2014