Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a viral infection that is most common in infants and children younger than 5 years old. It also can sometimes occur in older children and even adults. Symptoms of HFMD include fever, a rash on the hands and feet and sores in the mouth. While HFMD is incredibly contagious, it is relatively mild and typically caused by a coxsackie virus. Hand, foot and mouth is very common in child care settings because of frequent diaper changes and potty training, and because small children often put their hands in their mouths. This disease spreads from person to person through saliva, blister fluid, stool, nasal secretion or respiratory droplets sprayed into the air after a cough or sneeze.

Symptoms of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease may cause some or all the following signs and symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Painful, red, blister-like lesions on the tongue, gums and inside of the cheeks
  • A red rash, without itching but sometimes with blistering, on the palms, soles and sometimes the buttocks
  • Irritability in infants and toddlers
  • Loss of appetite


Lower your risk of getting infected by doing the following:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water
  • Avoid close contact such as hugging, kissing or sharing eating utensils or cups.
  • Disinfect dirty surfaces and soiled items


Infected persons are most contagious during the first week of illness. However, the virus can remain in the body for weeks after the symptoms have subsided.


Hand, foot and mouth disease is typically a minor illness that causes only a few days of fever and relatively mild symptoms. Contact U.N.I. Urgent Care if mouth sores or a sore throat keep your child from drinking fluids or if your child’s symptoms worsen.


This information is not a substitute for medical advice nor is it intended as such. If you have questions about your health, please contact our offices.

In the case of an emergency call 911.

Information from The Mayo Clinic was used in this post.