Hand, foot and mouth disease is an infection caused by the Coxsackie virus. Though it mostly affects young children, it can happen at any age. Outbreaks are most common in the summer and fall.
What are the symptoms?
Hand, foot and mouth disease is usually not a severe illness. It can cause:
loss of appetite,
lack of energy,
vomiting and/or diarrhea,
small, painful ulcers in the mouth,
a skin rash that looks like red spots, often with small blisters on top, that appears on the hands (palms) and feet (soles), buttocks and sometimes other places on the body.
How does hand, foot and mouth disease spread?
Hand, foot and mouth disease is most contagious during the first week of illness. It spreads through contact with an infected person’s saliva or stool. Germs can get on a person’s hands or other objects and then spread into someone’s mouth, causing infection. The virus can be found in a person’s stool for up to 4 weeks after the start of the illness.
Hand, foot and mouth disease is not spread from animals.
Handwashing is the best way to prevent the spread of infection.