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Hand, foot and mouth disease

Hand, foot and mouth disease is a common viral illness that mainly affects children under ten years old, but can sometimes affect older children and adults. It is caused by infection with the coxsackievirus virus. This is not the same as foot-and-mouth disease, which affects farm animals.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is highly contagious. It’s especially common in childcare and kindergartens.

The main symptoms are fever and tiny blisters on the cheeks, gums and sides of the mouth and on the hands and feet. Children may also have a sore throat.

There is no treatment to kill the virus that causes hand, foot and mouth disease. The blisters usually last for seven to ten days.

But it’s possible to improve comfort by treating the symptoms with paracetamol, rest and plenty to drink.

Last reviewed: November 2016

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Hand, foot and mouth disease is a common childhood illness. It comes up as mouth ulcers and blisters on your childs hands and feet. Its usually harmless.

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Parechovirus is a virus closely related to enteroviruses. Enteroviruses cause illnesses such as diarrhoea, common colds, and hand, foot and mouth disease (not as common). Good hygiene is essential to help prevent spread of the infection.

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