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Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is a common illness in children. It is caused by a virus. It often begins with a mild fever, poor appetite, and a sore throat. In a day or two, sores form in the mouth and on the hands and feet. Sometimes sores form on the buttocks. Mouth sores are often painful. This may make it hard for your child to eat. Not all children get a rash, mouth sores, or fever.
The disease often is not serious. It goes away on its own in about 7 to 10 days. It spreads through contact with stool, coughs, sneezes, or runny noses. Home care, such as rest, fluids, and pain relievers, is often the only care needed. Antibiotics do not work for this disease, because it is caused by a virus rather than bacteria.
Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is not the same as foot-and-mouth disease (sometimes called hoof-and-mouth disease) or mad cow disease. These other diseases almost always occur in animals.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: September 20, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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