There’s not a parent alive that doesn’t get concerned when it appears their child is getting ill. There are many different diseases and conditions which can strike a child, but not their parents. These diseases can be mild, but are also sometimes very serious.
One of the common childhood illnesses that many suffer from is hand-foot-and-mouth disease. While it’s quite a mouthful to say, the disease is far from a joke. A young child who gets this disease will find themselves handling painful sores on their body, while probably wondering why it hit them.
What are the symptoms of Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease?
As mentioned above, this disease is intended only for children. The list of symptoms is one where a child may have all of them, or only a few of these. The following symptoms are all very common:
- Lesions - These very painful lesions will occur in a child’s mouth. It can be on the gums, on the tongue or also on the cheeks inside. Unsurprisingly, this is part of the reason for the name of the disease.
- Rash - This red rash will occur on the hands or feet and is quite painful. It’s typically not an itch causing rash, but will blister at times. In addition to the two normal locations, sometimes the rash will appear on the buttocks of the child. This is a very rare occurrence however.
- Fever - This common symptom is often not enough to determine the disease on its own due to the numerous conditions which cause a fever.
- Sore Throat - This is another common symptom which is felt in many diseases.
- Loss of Appetite - When a young child suddenly goes from having a healthy appetite to being a picky eater, it’s a definite symptom of this disease.
Typically the symptoms don’t show immediately upon infection. The fever is generally first, followed by the other symptoms afterwards. It can take a couple of days for all of them to develop after the fever has.
Causes of Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease
This disease is rather infectious and can be easily spread from child to child through several methods. Nasal discharge and saliva are often the most common. If orally ingested in some fashion, it’s likely it will be spread. Infants and young children are often touching everything they see. It’s also possible to pass it through stool, blister fluid or even the droplets expelled while sneezing or coughing.
With so many ways to transmit the disease, it’s not surprising that it’s very commonly passed when young children are receiving group child care. Daycare centers do everything they can to alleviate this, but the diaper changes combined with children interacting can make it difficult to eliminate the virus from the area.
Avoiding Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease and Treatment Plans
The good news is that the disease will clear up on its own without much treatment in a week to ten days. However, it can still be painful. This is especially true when a child has lesions in the mouth. It’s best to avoid acidic, salty or spicy foods during this time. Soft, bland food will typically work best to avoid pain. Cold items like ice chips or ice cream can also help reduce the pain.
The best bet is to manage things through prevention. Parents need to do everything they can to assist their children in avoiding this disease. Proper hygiene needs to be taught early including proper hand washing techniques. It’s also key to keep properly disinfecting the home in high traffic areas. Child care centers should also pay special attention to keeping everything as disinfected as possible. Also, never drop a child at daycare if they have the disease. Some moderate isolation from other children is key to keeping the disease from spreading.