Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Handwashing prevents disease transfer.

Handwashing prevents disease transfer.
beginning of content

Hand, foot and mouth disease treatment

2-minute read

There is no specific treatment for the coxsackievirus that causes hand, foot and mouth disease. The symptoms usually clear up in 7 to 10 days. Antibiotics do not work.

Allow blisters to dry out naturally. The blisters should not be deliberately burst because the fluid inside them is infectious.

It’s possible to make your child feel more comfortable by treating the symptoms:

  • Paracetamol can ease pain and fever, but avoid aspirin. You can ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice on the right product and dose for your child.
  • Give your child plenty to drink – sips of water or oral rehydration fluid can stop them becoming dehydrated. Ice blocks or jelly can soothe a sore mouth.
  • Give your child soft foods. Avoid tangy or acidic food that could sting a sore mouth.
  • Encourage your child to rest. Keep them home from day care or school until their blisters dry up.

If the symptoms are severe, please see a doctor.

Signs of a serious infection

Signs that your child might have a more serious form of hand, foot and mouth disease include any of the following:

  • persistent fever (38°C or above for 72 hours or more)
  • abnormal movements / jerking movements
  • rapid breathing
  • excessive tiredness, drowsiness
  • excessive irritability
  • difficulty walking
  • refusing fluids
  • showing signs of being dehydrated (such as not passing urine as often as usual)
  • symptoms that are getting worse after a few days
  • moving jerkily or can't walk properly

If any of these signs are present, your child should see a doctor urgently even if they have been checked earlier in the illness.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: November 2020

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

hand, foot, mouth, disease

Read more on Queensland Health website

Hand, foot and mouth disease

Find out what is hand, foot and mouth disease and links to trusted information on its symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Hand, foot and mouth disease

Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is caused by a virus (usually from the coxsackie group of enteroviruses, particularly coxsackie virus A16). It causes blisters on the hands and feet, in the mouth and often in the ‘nappy’ area. It is generally a mild disease that lasts 7 to 10 days.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Hand, foot and mouth disease -

Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common childhood illness causing mouth sores and a skin rash. Read about the symptoms, treatment and how to prevent infection by this viral illness.

Read more on myDr website

Hand, foot and mouth disease fact sheet - Fact sheets

Hand, foot and mouth disease is a common viral infection which is easily passed from person to person.

Read more on NSW Health website

ACD A-Z of Skin - Enteroviral Vesicular Stomatitis

A-Z OF SKIN Enteroviral Vesicular Stomatitis BACK TO A-Z SEARCH What is it? Also known as … Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

Read more on Australasian College of Dermatologists website

Enterovirus 71 (EV71) Neurological Disease

Enterovirus 71 (EV71) neurological disease is a rare but serious complication of infection with enterovirus 71, a virus which most commonly causes the mild childhood illness hand, foot and mouth disease.

Read more on Queensland Health website

Hand, foot and mouth disease: children | Raising Children Network

Hand, foot and mouth disease is a common childhood illness. It causes mouth ulcers and blisters on hands and feet. It’s mostly mild but can be uncomfortable.

Read more on website

Enterovirus in children

Enteroviruses cause a range of illnesses which are usually mild. You can help prevent the different types of enterovirus infection by practising good hygiene.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Common childhood rashes

Childhood rashes are common and many disappear without treatment. Learn about symptoms and treatment of childhood rashes, such as eczema, ringworm and impetigo.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.