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Hand, Foot, & Mouth Virus

Who does this disease affect?

Most common in children younger than 5 years of age, hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD) causes sores and/or rashes on the hands, feet or mouth and even the buttocks. Though this disease can infect someone at any time, it is more common during the summer and fall and is easily spread through coughing and sneezing or touching infected stool. Incubation period for HFMD is three to six days.

Since hand-foot-and-mouth disease is typically found in young children, it is important for parents to know the warning signs and symptoms so the child can receive prompt treatment.

Infectious disease provider examining rash on skin of child feet closeup.

Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease

Symptoms & Causes


Symptoms of hand-foot-and-mouth include:

  • A fever up to 103 degrees
  • Sore throat
  • Sores/blisters on hands, feet, mouth and/or buttocks
  • Rash on hands, feet and mouth
  • Loss of appetite


Polioviruses, coxsackieviruses, echoviruses and enteroviruses are all part of the enterovirus genus virus, which is the cause of hand-foot-and-mouth. It can be transmitted by:

  • Breathing in air that has been affected through sneezing, coughing, or talking
  • Coming in contact with infected stool
  • Coming in contact with fluid from the blisters/sores

Unfortunately, there is no vaccine to prevent this disease.

There are, however, ways to help prevent it:

  • Wash hands often using soap and warm water. Teach your child to wash hands after every bathroom use. It is also important for parents to wash hands after diaper changes and using the toilet.
  • Clean/disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched such as handles, toys and countertops.
  • Avoid close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with HFMD. Do not hug or share utensils or cups with the infected person.

If your child becomes infected and attends daycare, it is vital for that child to remain at home so the disease does not spread.

Diagnosis of hand-foot-and-mouth disease

If you or your child has a sore throat, body rash and sores, stop by one of our Midwest Express Clinic locations. Diagnosis of HFMD is typically determined by an examination of how the sores and rash appear. Depending on how severe the rash and body sores are, a throat or stool sample may be collected and sent to a testing laboratory.


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