Hand-foot-and-mouth disease

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is a mild, contagious viral disease common in children under 10 years old, usually under 5, and rarely in adults.

What is causing the disease and how is it transmitted?

This disease is caused by the coxsackievirus, and it is transmitted by direct contact with the infected child, through secretions (saliva and nose secretion), as well as dirty hands. A diseased person is contagious during the first week of the disease, so minor outbreaks occur in kindergartens, most often in the summer and in the fall.

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease — What are the symptoms?

Usually a fever appears first, then malaise, loss of appetite and sore throat. After a couple of days, a rash develops in the form of small blisters around the lips, in the oral cavity, on the hands and feet, less often on the legs, arms and in the diaper region. The affected region is rarely sore. The disease most often lasts between 3 and 5 days, 10 days at the most and usually without complications.

Treatment and prevention

A diagnosis is made based on characteristic symptoms. Treatment is symptomatic, involving the intake of sufficient fluid to prevent dehydration of the child and, in case of a fever, fever reducing products and possibly some analgesic drug, according to the physician’s advice. The child is most contagious during the first week of illness and during this period the child should not go to kindergarten or school, where the more restrictive general and personal hygiene measures will be necessary. Frequent hand washing and avoiding close contact with infected people can reduce the possibility of getting contaminated by a virus. Regenerative creams are applied topically on the lesions until the skin is reepithelialised.
Svetlana Đurišić specijalista dermatovenerologije

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