A condition particularly common in young children, hand, foot and mouth disease is a contagious viral infection. Typically characterized by sores or lesions in the mouth paired with a rash on the hands and feet, the disease is typically passed at daycares and schools.
The condition generally presents itself between three and seven days following exposure with the first symptom being a fever. Secondary hand, foot and mouth disease symptoms to develop include a sore throat as well as loss of appetite and general unwell feeling. The characteristic sores and rash typically occur one to two days after the initial fever. Additionally, pain caused by the blister-like sores in the mouth as well as itching and blistering from the rash is common. Infants and toddlers often exhibit increased irritability in addition to their other symptoms.
The cause of hand, foot and mouth disease is most common coxaskievirus A16, a virus that falls within the nonpolio enteroviruses. Other enteroviruses may also cause hand, foot and mouth disease, but this one is the most common. The illness is caused by person-to-person contact and is typically ingested via the mouth. Additionally contact with an infected individual’s saliva, blister fluid, stool, respiratory droplets, nasal secretion and throat discharge can cause spread of the infection.