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Hand, foot and mouth disease diagnosis

1-minute read

Hand, foot and mouth disease is usually a mild viral illness that most commonly affects young children under 5, but in some cases the illness is more severe. It is less common in older children, teenagers, and adults.

See a doctor if you or the person you are caring for:

  • is not able to eat or drink
  • shows signs of being dehydrated (such as not passing urine as often as usual)
  • has symptoms that are getting worse after a few days
  • if they are moving jerkily or can't walk properly
  • if they are extremely drowsy
  • has a high fever for more than 3 days
  • has a rash

Seek urgent medical advice from your doctor or an emergency department if a person has a headache, stiff neck or new back pain. These can be signs of a very serious illness.

Are there tests for hand, foot and mouth disease?

Your doctor can usually diagnose hand, foot and mouth disease based on age, symptoms and the appearance of sores.

Laboratory tests, such as blood tests, are not usually needed.

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Last reviewed: November 2018


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