If your child is showing rashes or sores on hand, foot, and mouth, and also experiencing fever and fatigue, he/she is suffering from hand, foot, and mouth syndrome. But you need not worry. It's not a fatal disease. Here are the causes, symptoms, and treatment for the same.
Firstly, let me clarify that the hand, foot, and mouth disease is not same as foot and mouth disease, a disease affecting animals; cattle in particular. The causative agent for the two are also different, so do not mix up the two. Hand, foot, and mouth disease, commonly known as, HFMD, is a disease affecting infants and children below 10 yrs of age. Its causative agent is the Coxsackie A virus and the Enterovirus 71, which belong to the Picorna virus family. There are individuals, as in adults with immunity problems or deficiencies, who might suffer from this syndrome, but in rare cases. The major onset of this syndrome occurs in the autumns and summers, when the virus is highly active.
As I mentioned earlier, the cause of the disease is basically due to the highly active nature of the virus and it's obvious that it affects the infants, because they do not have enough antibodies to protect them against it. As far as the symptoms are concerned, if your child is having fever, going through malaise, sore throat, and vomiting, the disease is yet difficult to be diagnosed. But, say after 2 to 3 days, if he/she starts showing red blisters or ulcers, commonly known as sores, on his hands, feet, inside mouth, near the cheeks; or if he/she is showing red rashes on the same, he/she has been infected by hand, foot, and mouth disease. Also, in many cases, rashes might appear on the buttocks as well.
According to research, the course of its incubation is around a week; after which it will get cured. There are a list of things you could do as a part of treatment though:
- For fever or fatigue and aches, you could use tablets or body sprays for relief.
- Also, lukewarm baths or baths with cool water, would help reduce body temperatures.
- To treat the mouth sores and rashes, go in for few creams which would reduce the burning sensation and make your child feel better. Aloe could be one of them.
- See to it that your child washes his/her mouth quite often and maintains the required oral hygiene. Gargle with salt, if required. It's highly effective.
- There is a possibility that your child might go through dehydration. So make sure you give all sorts of fluids to avoid this.
- Also, try to keep him/her in a hygienic and warmer environment.
- For this disease in particular, doctors recommend no treatments unless and until there occur complications which include viral meningitis, or encephalitis, although only on rare occasions, and also if your child is immunologically weak. Admission to a hospital might be required, followed by the prescribed treatment by the doctor.
- Also nail loss has been observed which does not need treatment. The nail growth resumes after a few days.
I need not mention that 'prevention is better than cure'. It's a fact we all know. So it's better to do the following things to lower the risk of infection:
- Keep your child at home. Do not let him/her be in contact with outsiders. Remember that he needs rest if he has to recover from the disease. Also, HFMD (Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease) is contagious.
- Try to keep him/her as hygienic as you can. Make sure he/she washes his/her hands, feet, and mouth regularly.
- Do not keep close contact with him. I know, he/she is your child, but hugging or kissing him/her during the course of infection, might just get you into trouble. Obviously, this does not mean, you neglect him/her. As parents, I am sure, you will do the needful.
- If you are thinking about vaccination; hold on, there has not been one yet in the market. Because hand, foot, and mouth disease is a recently discovered syndrome, vaccination is not available as of now.
This article was especially for the parents. Do not get hyper, if your child is suffering from HFMD. Follow the treatment, and your child will be fit and fine within a weeks span.