Pediatric

Pediatric

Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

What is hand foot and mouth (HFM) disease?

Hand foot and mouth disease (HFM) is a viral infection characterized by fever and a typical rash most frequently seen on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and inside the mouth. It should not be confused with foot (hoof) and mouth disease that affects cattle, sheep, and swine. HFM is caused by several members of the enterovirus family of viruses. The most common cause is Coxsackie virus A16.

What are the symptoms and signs of hand foot and mouth disease?

Initial symptoms of mild fever and malaise are followed within one or two days by a characteristic rash. Small (2 mm-3 mm) red spots that quickly develop into small blisters appear on the palms, soles, and oral cavity. The gums, tongue, and inner cheek are most commonly involved. Oral lesions are commonly associated with a sore throat and reduced appetite.

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Fever in children

Fever itself is not life-threatening unless it is extremely and persistently high. Fever may indicate the presence of a serious illness, but usually a fever is caused by common infections which are not necessarily serious.

The part of the brain called the hypothalamus controls body temperature. The hypothalamus increases the body’s temperature as a way to fight the infection. However, many conditions other than infections may cause a fever.

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