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Hand-foot-mouth syndrome is a contagious disease caused by the Coxsackie virus, which can be transmitted from person to person or through contaminated food and objects. Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is most common in children under 5 years of age, but can also occur in adults.
Symptoms of the syndrome appear after 3 to 7 days of infection and include fever above 38ºC, sore throat and lack of appetite. Two days after the onset of the first symptoms, painful canker sores appear in the mouth and painful blisters on the hands, feet and sometimes in the intimate region, which can itch.
The treatment of hand-foot-mouth syndrome should be guided by the pediatrician or general practitioner and can be done with fever remedies, anti-inflammatory drugs, itching remedies and ointments for canker sores, with the aim of relieve symptoms.
The most common symptoms of hand-foot-mouth syndrome are:
- Fever above 38ºC;
- Sore throat;
- Too much salivation;
- Lack of appetite;
These symptoms appear 3 to 7 days after infection with the virus. After another 2 to 3 days, it is common to see red spots or blisters on the hands and feet, as well as mouth ulcers, which help in the diagnosis of the disease.
How to confirm the diagnosis
The diagnosis of hand-foot-mouth syndrome is made by the pediatrician or general practitioner through the evaluation of symptoms and spots.
Because of some symptoms, this syndrome can be confused with some diseases, such as herpangina, which is a viral disease in which the baby has mouth sores similar to herpes sores, or scarlet fever, in which the child has red patches spread across the skin. Therefore, the doctor may request additional laboratory tests to close the diagnosis. Understand more about herpangina and learn what scarlet fever is and its main symptoms.
How the transmission happens
Transmission of hand-foot-mouth syndrome occurs through coughing, sneezing, saliva and direct contact with blisters that have burst or infected feces, especially during the first 7 days of illness, but even after recovery, the virus can still be transmitted through faeces for about 4 weeks.
So, to avoid catching the disease or to avoid transmitting it to other children it is important:
- Don't be around other sick children;
- Do not share cutlery or objects that have come into contact with the mouth of children suspected of having the syndrome;
- Wash your hands after coughing, sneezing or whenever you need to touch your face.
In addition, the virus can be transmitted through contaminated objects or food. Therefore, it is important to wash food before consumption, change the baby's diaper with gloves and then wash your hands and wash your hands well after using the bathroom. See when and how to wash your hands properly.
How the treatment is done
The treatment of hand-foot-mouth syndrome should be guided by the pediatrician or general practitioner and can be done with fever remedies, such as Paracetamol, anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Ibuprofen, medicines for itching, such as antihistamines, cold sore gel, or lidocaine, for example.
The treatment lasts about 7 days and it is important that the child does not go to school or day care during this period so as not to contaminate other children. Check out more details on the treatment of hand-foot-mouth syndrome.