The disease is caused by the enterovirus, and is easily communicable through coughing and sneezing, through infected stool, through blister fluids, and even through contact with people who are carrying the virus.
The illness throws up symptoms generally within three to six days from the day of contact with the virus. Symptoms typically include:
- Fever ranging from 101 degrees Fahrenheit to 103 degrees Fahrenheit
- Sore throat
- Feeling of being unwell (malaise)
- Painful, red, blister-like lesions on the tongue, gums, and insides of the cheeks
- Red rashes, without itching but sometimes with blistering, on the palms, soles, and sometimes the buttocks
- Irritability in infants and toddlers
- Loss of appetite
Although the illness subsides after few days of fever, a doctor’s help must be sought if the symptoms seem to worsen with time, and if the mouth sores are keeping the baby away from eating.
Diagnosis is generally done by doctors simply by seeing the typical blisters and sores that develop in the baby’s body. A throat swab or stool and blood samples may also be taken for confirmation.
Most often the hand, foot, and mouth disease can be treated at home:
- Give plenty of cold fluids to your baby to relieve sore throat pains
- For reducing pain and fever, give doctor-prescribed OTC medicines like acetaminophen or ibuprofen
Other small steps like regular changing of the baby’s clothes, washing of hands before touching the baby or after touching a baby who is already infected, are simple steps that should be followed to avoid spreading of germs and infections around the new-born.