All sorts of viruses and infections are especially common in children, and hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is one of them. We understand that few things are more difficult than seeing your child sick. When you’re not sure what’s wrong, this can be even more upsetting.
With this post, we hope to give you some critical information about the signs and symptoms of HFMD to help give you peace of mind, and most importantly, get your child feeling better as soon as possible. So, keep reading for some valuable information to help you identify if your child might be experiencing HFMD and what your next steps should be.
What is Hand, Foot, and Mouth?
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a viral infection that’s most frequently found in children under the age of 5, but it can also be seen in older children and even adults. While this virus may have outwardly concerning symptoms and can be rather unpleasant, it’s not typically considered serious or life-threatening.
This contagious virus is spread from person to person, typically through germs from saliva or stool. When these germs get on a person’s hand or objects and then into another person’s mouth, infection is likely. The virus is most contagious during the first week of HFMD, and it can be found in the afflicted person’s stool for up to four weeks from the start of the infection.
Preventing the Spread of HFMD
Luckily, simple hygiene practices are the most effective way to prevent the virus from spreading. Because of how it’s spread, the best way to prevent HFMD is handwashing with soap and water. It’s also important to disinfect toys, common areas, and other places and objects your child comes in contact with. Parents are advised to keep their children home from daycare or school at least until their fever is gone to prevent it from spreading to other children.
Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease Symptoms
Now that we know more about what HFMD is, how it’s spread, and how to prevent it, let’s discuss some of the common signs and symptoms of this virus.
Although symptoms can vary based on the severity of the illness, they usually include:
- Small, painful sores in the mouth
- A rash on the bottom of the hands and feet, buttocks, or other areas of the body with red dots and small blisters
- Lack of energy
- Loss of appetite
- Sore throat
- Vomiting and diarrhea
During the course of HFMD, your child may not experience all of these symptoms. The symptoms typically last for 7-10 days, and while there is no treatment for HFMD, it’s still important to be sure this is what your child is experiencing and to rule out other causes.
When to Go to Urgent Care
As a parent, you know your child best. If you think they require medical care, it is best to be overly cautious and follow your gut. We also cover some important signs to look out for that could mean your child needs medical attention.
If your child is exhibiting signs of dehydration, this is a sign to seek medical help.
Some of the signs of dehydration to look for include:
- No visible tears when the child is crying
- The skin, mouth, or tongue is dry to the touch
- Minimal or no urination (4 or less wet diapers within 24 hours)
- Refusing food or drink for 4-8 hours because of the painful sores in their mouth
We cover signs of dehydration for adults as well in this post.
If your child’s sore throat is severe or they’re breathing rapidly, these are other telling signs that your child should be examined. When a severe headache is present, especially if it’s combined with vomiting, diarrhea, unusual fatigue, or confusion, these are further signs you should seek medical care.
When a child’s symptoms don’t appear serious, parents may hesitate to take them to a hospital emergency room to avoid a long waiting time or the wait time to see your child’s primary care physician may be too long.
But luckily, there’s another convenient option for treating non-life-threatening illnesses or medical conditions!
Getting Help from Restore Health Urgent Care
At Restore Health Urgent Care in Palm Bay, HFMD is something we see a lot of.
In this blog post, we also cover 9 top reasons to take your child to an urgent care clinic. It covers additional information about why it’s always important to visit an emergency room for life-threatening conditions. However, when urgent care is the right fit, there are plenty of good reasons for opting for this type of care for you or your child.
While there is no antibiotic or treatment to get rid of this virus, there are things that can be done to help your child feel better.
When you visit Restore Health Urgent Care, our medical team will take a careful history and perform a physical exam to diagnose HFMD. In some cases, lab tests may be ordered to rule out other conditions through our convenient on-site laboratory services.
Our doctors will provide you with practical tips for easing the severity of your child’s symptoms and encouraging their return to health.
Some of these tips include:
- Offering your child plenty of bland fluids like milk or water that won’t irritate mouth sores.
- Over the counter pain medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be recommended to ease the pain of mouth sores. In severe cases, prescription pain relievers may be required.
- Never pop your child’s blisters as this can cause even more pain. As tempting as it may be to pop them, know they will heal on their own.
- Regularly disinfect common areas and objects in your home to prevent the spread to other family members. Ensure all family members are regularly washing their hands with soap and water.
Palm Bay Urgent Care Services
In addition to HFMD, the team at Restore Health Urgent Care can treat a variety of common illnesses and injuries. We also offer other services like adult vaccines, digital X-rays, physicals, pre-employment testing, and much more.
Restore Health Urgent Care is located in Palm Bay, Florida and we’re pleased to offer pediatric urgent care services. To see how close you are to a location, parents can search “pediatric urgent care near me” or “Restore Health near me.” We also offer a convenient option to book an appointment in a click and get help as soon as possible.