Gastonia’s children’s doctor can help identify hand, foot, and mouth disease

Gastonia’s children’s doctor says that hand, foot, and mouth disease is a virus characterized by mouth blisters and a rash on the hands, feet, and bottom. It mainly affects young children and is mostly seen during late summer and fall. The common and queer disease can be hard to tell in milder cases. The excellent news is it can be treated at home with pain medication and plenty of fluids.

What is hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD)?

HFMD is caused by a highly contagious virus that lasts seven to ten days. It can cause painful blisters or sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands, feet, and bottom. In milder cases, children may only have blisters in the back of their mouths. You can watch out for other symptoms to know when your child has HFMD. These include fever, malaise, irritability, sore throat, drooling, and the reluctance to eat or drink.

HFMD symptoms usually start to show three to seven days after infection. You should notice a fever first, followed by a sore throat and decreased appetite. Blisters usually appear one or two days after the fever. Although harmless, a few weeks later, the skin on the fingers and toes can peel off. In rare cases, the fingernails or toenails may also fall off. But that shouldn’t be a reason to worry as they will grow back normally.

Who is prone to the virus?

Children of four years and below are likely to contract the virus. Adults aren’t likely to get it or show symptoms since they have already developed antibodies that fight against it. The spread happens where children congregate, including preschool and daycare.

How is HFMD spread?

The virus stays in the digestive tract and is transmitted through saliva, feces, nasal mucus, and blister fluid. You can prevent the spread by washing your hands from time to time, particularly after changing diapers and before handling food. Once your child recovers, it’s important to note that the virus can still spread through the stool for several weeks.

How can you treat HFMD?

HFMD has no cure like the common cold, so you can only treat the symptoms. Common treatments include:

  • Use ibuprofen and acetaminophen to manage the fever and pain from mouth blisters.
  • Closely monitor your child to ascertain they take plenty of fluids. Your child may refuse to take any drink. In that case, you should try popsicles made out of plain water or apple juice. It’s best to avoid acidic drinks like orange juice and anything else spicy or salty. They can make blisters hurt even more.
  • A pediatrician can prescribe a mouthwash solution to ease the pain from the blisters.
  • Make sure the blisters on the hands or feet are uncovered and clean, and never try to pop them. If any pops, apply antibiotic cream and cover it with a bandage. They should last anywhere between one to two weeks.

Note: Let your child stay home until the fever and sores have healed.

When to call the doctor

Contact your pediatrician if your child refuses to drink or shows signs of dehydration. Also, call the doctor immediately if your child complains of a stiff neck, back pain, or headache.

Work with Gastonia’s children’s doctor

Suppose you are unsure that your child has hand, foot, and mouth disease; it’s best to seek a pediatrician’s services. Work with Gastonia’s children’s doctor to alleviate pain and discomfort from the blisters and get skin relief and other supportive care tips. Gastonia Pediatric Associates, your Gastonia area pediatricians, offers top-quality pediatric care.