Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a kind of viral infection. In recent years, the tendency of this disease has increased a lot. The hand, foot, and mouth disease in children generally do not involve many complications. In some special cases, this disease might lead to viral meningitis, pneumonia, myocarditis, and even encephalitis. Hand, foot, and mouth disease generally happen due to the infection of the Coxsackie virus, which belongs to the Enterovirus family. Certain other viruses are also responsible for this disease.
The Coxsackie virus infection spreads tremendously. It can spread from one body to another very easily. It mainly spreads from water, stool, saliva, coughs, and sneezes. The infection also occurs from one person to another due to unclean hands. The breaking of the blisters (like those of chickenpox), an important symptom of this disease can also lead to infection. Therefore, according to the advice of the doctors, the individual suffering from this disease should be kept in isolation.
In general, the chances of this disease in children occurring twice are very less. Owing to the recent subtypes of the virus, one can get affected by this disease multiple times. This disease can occur in people of all age groups but children around 5 years of age are more likely to face it.
It takes 3-7 days for the symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease in children to show. This is called the incubation period. The main symptom of this disease in children is a slight fever (high fever occurs rarely) along with rashes on hands, feet, ulcers inside the mouth, throat ache, and headache. The child becomes moody as well.
Normally, rashes start appearing on the hands and feet after two days of the ulcer appearing in the mouth. The ulcers in the mouth cause pain, and therefore, children tend to eat slowly or do not want to eat at all. The continuous harassment that the children face because of pain, rashes, and blisters is troublesome indeed. The pain due to ulcers reaches its peak after 4-5 days and it disappears within 1 week.
In most cases, observation of the symptoms of the body identifies this disease. Other than this, samples taken from the throat are tested. The virus is also identified after testing stool samples.
Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) get cured within 7-10 days automatically. Some symptomatic medicines can be prescribed, like a numbing gel which can decrease the pain of mouth ulcers. In many cases, doctors prescribe multivitamins so that children get cured easily. Paracetamol and other medicines are also given to children for getting rid of the fever and decreasing pain. Ointments for rashes and medicines for throat aches can also be given.
Children can also be made to gurgle. During this period, children should consume lots of coconut water, buttermilk, soup, fruit juices, and liquid drinks like smoothies. However, children should not be given warm and such foods that are difficult to swallow. Often, this disease causes dehydration since the consumption of milk and water becomes difficult for children due to mouth ulcers. Dry mouth and fewer quantities of urine than normal are symptoms of dehydration and the doctor should be consulted as soon as possible.
Hand, foot, and mouth diseases in children are infectious, and therefore, the patients should be kept in isolation for 3-5 days. The breath, saliva, and stool of the victim might also lead to the infectious disease in children. The chances of infection remain till the blisters on hand and foot and mouth ulcers disappear. This is why it spreads rapidly among the children in school.
A proper healthcare routine must be followed to resist the disease. Therefore, children should be made to wash hands frequently. The floors and other areas of the house must be cleaned with proper chemicals. It should be noticed whether children are touching their mouths with unclean hands. Parents should make sure that the children wash their hands before having food, after using the bathrooms as well as when they come from outside. These rules should be followed by the parents and other members of the house, especially, in the case of new-born babies. Even parents should maintain a certain distance from their kids to avoid this infectious disease.
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