Hand, foot and mouth disease

Hand, foot and mouth disease is caused by coxsackieviruses and is highly contagious.

Overview

Hand, foot and mouth disease is caused by coxsackieviruses and is highly contagious. It is characterised by fever, painful blisters in the mouth and a red rash on the hands and soles of the feet. The infection goes away on its own after around one week.

Symptoms

Main symptoms

  • Painful blisters on the tongue, gums and inside of the cheeks
  • Red rash with blisters on the hands and soles of the feet

Other symptoms

The symptoms go away on their own after approx. one week.

Causes and treatment

Causes

  • Coxsackie A virus
  • Passed on through coughing, sneezing (droplet infection) or direct contact

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Typical appearance, usually no special tests are needed (“visual diagnosis”)
Possible therapies
  • Usually no therapy is needed as the disease heals on its own
  • Medication against itching or fever

What can I do myself?

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Wash hands regularly and avoid close physical contact (to reduce risk of transmission)
  • Don't send children to nursery, kindergarten or school as this infection is highly contagious

When to see a doctor?

  • Continued fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough with yellow or blood-streaked sputum
  • Disorientation, apathy
  • Stiff neck (can’t touch chin to chest)
  • No improvement after a week

Synonyms

Hand, foot and mouth disease, foot, mouth, disease

Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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