Hand Foot and Mouth is a common childhood illness, caused by a virus called Coxsackie. It is usually a mild infection that does not need specific treatment and will usually get better on its own. Antibiotics will not help.
It commonly affects children under 5 years of age, and initial symptoms can include a high temperature, sore throat, reduced appetite and generally feeling unwell.
After a few days mouth ulcers and a rash will appear.
Ulcers appear in the mouth and on the tongue. These can be painful and make it difficult to eat or drink.
Red spots, which develop into blisters, usually appear on the hands and feet.
The blisters are grey in the centre and can be painful.
It's possible to get hand, foot and mouth disease more than once.
If you are not sure it is Hand Foot and Mouth disease look at other childhood rashes here.
Go to the nearest Hospital Emergency (A&E) Department or phone 999
Please ring your GP surgery or call NHS 111 - dial 111
If symptoms persist for 4 hours or more and you have not been able to speak to either a member of staff from your GP practice or to NHS 111 staff, recheck that your child has not developed any red features.
Continue providing your child’s care at home. If you are still concerned about your child, speak to your health visitor, or local pharmacist or call NHS 111– dial 111.
You should keep your child off school of the nursery while they are feeling unwell. However, once they are feeling better they can go back to nursery/school and there is no need to wait until all the blisters have healed. However, it is best to let the school or nursery know that they have had hand foot, and mouth disease
Continue providing your child’s care at home. If you are still concerned about your child, speak to your health visitor, local pharmacist or call NHS 111– dial 111
Children and young people who are unwell and have a high temperature should stay at home. They can go back to school, college or childcare when they no longer have a high temperature, and are well enough to attend.
Seeing your child unwell with hand foot and mouth disease can be very distressing for a parent and while there is no treatment for the virus itself there are simple things you can do to make your child more comfortable:
You can't take antibiotics or medicines to cure hand, foot and mouth disease – it has to run its course. It usually gets better in 7 to 10 days.
Hand, foot and mouth disease is easily passed on to other people. It's spread in coughs, sneezes and poo.
You're infectious from a few days before you have any symptoms, but you're most likely to give it to others in the first 5 days after symptoms start.
To reduce the risk of spreading hand, foot and mouth disease: