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General Practice 2023

Herpangina: what é, main symptoms and treatment

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Herpangina: what é, main symptoms and treatment
Herpangina: what é, main symptoms and treatment

Herpangina is a disease caused by the Coxsackie virus, enterovirus or herpes simplex virus that affects infants and children between the ages of 3 and 10, causing symptoms such as sudden fever, canker sores and sore throat.

The symptoms of herpangina can last up to 12 days and there is no specific treatment, only comfort measures are recommended to relieve symptoms and aid recovery.

Herpangina is usually a mild condition that lasts a few days, but in rare cases some children may have complications such as changes in the nervous system and heart or lung failure, so in case of suspicion you should always go pediatrician to evaluate the case and initiate the most appropriate treatment.

Main symptoms

The main characteristic of herpangina is the appearance of blisters in the child's mouth and throat, which when they burst, leave whitish spots. In addition, other characteristic symptoms of the disease are:

  • Sudden fever, which usually lasts for 3 days;
  • Sore throat;
  • Irritated red throat;
  • Small white sores inside the mouth with a reddish circle around it. The child can have 2 to 12 small canker sores inside the mouth, measuring less than 5mm each;
  • Canker sores are usually found on the roof of the mouth, tongue, throat, uvula and tonsils, and can remain in the mouth for 1 week;
  • Wrinkles may appear in the neck region.

Symptoms can appear between 4 and 14 days after contact with the virus and it is not uncommon for a child to show symptoms about 1 week after being in a waiting room with other sick children waiting for an appointment or in crowded places with poor hygiene conditions, for example.

The diagnosis is made by observing the symptoms but the doctor may request tests to confirm the disease, such as isolation of the virus from one of the sores or blisters in the throat or mouth. In the case of herpangina epidemic, however, the doctor may choose not to request more specific tests, the diagnosis being based on the similarity of symptoms presented by other children in the same period.

How to get herpangina

Contagion with the virus responsible for Herpangina can happen when the child comes into contact with the secretions of a person infected with the disease, whether through a sneeze or cough, for example. However, the virus can also be found in feces, so diapers and dirty clothes can also spread the disease.

Thus, as it is an easily transmitted disease, babies and children who attend nurseries and day care centers are the most prone due to the contact they have with each other.

How the treatment is done

Treatment for herpangina is done by relieving symptoms, not requiring the use of specific antiviral drugs. Thus, the pediatrician can recommend treatment at home with the use of antipyretic medication, such as Paracetamol, to relieve fever, and anti-inflammatories and topical anesthetics in children over 2 years of age.

Also learn how to soothe a baby's sore throat.

How to eat

Due to the presence of sores in the mouth, the act of chewing and swallowing can be painful, therefore, it is recommended that the diet be liquid, pasty and with little s alt, with the consumption of non-citrus juices, soups and puree, for example. In addition, plain yogurt is a good option to keep your baby fed and hydrated, especially since cold foods are more easily accepted by the child.

It is recommended to offer plenty of water to keep the child well hydrated, so that they can recover faster. In addition, a lot of rest is also recommended, avoiding overstimulating the child so that he can rest and sleep properly.

Signs of improvement or worsening

The signs of improvement in herpangina are a decrease in fever within 3 days, an improvement in appetite and a decrease in sore throat.

However, if this does not happen or if other symptoms such as seizures appear, for example, you should go back to the pediatrician for a new evaluation. Although it is rare, complications such as meningitis can arise, which must be treated in isolation in the hospital. See how viral meningitis is treated.

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