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Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is a common illness caused by a virus. The virus is very contagious. It spreads easily through contact with stool, coughs, sneezes, and runny noses. Anyone can get hand-foot-and-mouth disease, but it's most common in children.
Symptoms are usually mild. They often start with a mild fever, a poor appetite, and a sore throat. In a day or two, blisters or sores may form in the mouth, on the hands and feet, and sometimes on the buttocks. Mouth sores or blisters are often painful and may make it hard to eat. Not everyone who gets infected has symptoms.
Home care can help relieve the symptoms. They usually go away in about 7 to 10 days. This illness is caused by a virus, not bacteria, so antibiotics won't help.
Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is not the same as foot-and-mouth disease (or hoof-and-mouth disease), which occurs in animals.
Follow-up care is a key part of your 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 you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: October 31, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Donald Sproule MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine
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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