Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common illness in infants and children. It is characterized by fever, sores in the mouth, and a rash on the hands and feet. It occurs in warmer months. It is transmitted primarily between humans by direct contact with secretions from the nose and throat, saliva, fluid from blisters, or the feces of those who have HFMD.
Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
HFMD is more common in children under 10 years of age.
Contact with someone who is infected with HFMD increases your risk of getting HFMD.
- Mild fever
- Poor appetite
- Sore throat
- Painful sores in the mouth
- Skin rash that does not itch, usually on the palms of hands and soles of feet
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your bodily fluids and waste products may need to be tested. This can be done with:
- Throat swab
- Stool specimen
There is no specific treatment for HFMD. Treatment is focused on relieving fever, aches, and pain associated with the illness. Medications may be given to help relieve the pain related to the sores in the mouth.
To help reduce the risk of HFMD:
- Wash your hands frequently, especially after diaper changes.
- Clean contaminated surfaces with soap and water followed by a diluted solution of chlorine-containing bleach. (Mix about one-fourth of a cup of bleach with 1 gallon of water.)
- Avoid close contact with children with HFMD.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases http://www.niaid.nih.gov
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov
Canadian Pediatric Society http://www.cps.ca
Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
Hand-foot-and-mouth disease. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116931/Hand-foot-and-mouth-disease . Updated June 27, 2017. Accessed December 21, 2017.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/hand-foot-mouth/index.html. Updated January 6, 2017. Accessed December 21, 2017.
6/24/2014 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116931/Hand-foot-and-mouth-disease : Fang Y, Wang S, et al. Risk factors of severe hand, foot and mouth disease: A meta-analysis. Scand J Infect Dis. 2014;46(7):515-522.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Kari Kassir, MD
- Review Date: 11/2018
- Update Date: 12/20/2014