Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

Never had the opportunity of meeting this disease before, just a word of caution to all moms, this is an airborne disease according to our doctor and can affects babies as well as adults. Here are a few notes that you may want to keep in mind regarding this disease...

What is HFMD?

Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a fairly common viral illness in children. (HFMD is not the same as foot-and-mouth disease, also called hoof-and-mouth disease, which affects animals.)

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease is an illness that causes sores in or on the mouth and on the hands, feet, and sometimes the buttocks and legs. The sores may be painful. The illness usually doesn't last more than a week or so

HFMD most often occurs in preschoolers, although adults and children of any age can get it. Most adults have developed antibodies against it from previous exposure. HFMD most often shows up in the summer and fall.

HFMD can be caused by any of a number of viruses, most commonly the coxsackie virus. Although in very rare cases HFMD can lead to viral meningitis or encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), children usually recover just fine, without treatment, in a week to ten days.


What are the symptoms?

If your baby contracts HFMD, he'll first have a mild fever. You may notice that his appetite isn't what it usually is. He may also have a sore throat and feel lousy in general.

Is it serious? Find out fast

It usually takes 3 to 6 days for a person to get symptoms of hand-foot-and-mouth disease after being exposed to the virus. This is called the incubation period.

A day or two after the fever starts, your baby will develop painful sores in his mouth — on his tongue, gums, or the inside of his cheeks. This will likely make him irritable.

Your child may also develop a rash on the palms of his hands, the soles of his feet, and maybe his buttocks. The rash, which isn't itchy, starts out as small, flat, red dots that may turn into bumps or blisters.






Is HFMD contagious?


Yes, the virus can be transmitted through nose and throat secretions, the fluid in the blisters, or stool. While your baby will be most contagious during the week he first shows symptoms, the virus can be transmitted for weeks afterward.

The virus spreads easily through coughing and sneezing. It can also spread through infected stool, such as when you change a diaper or when a young child gets stool on his or her hands and then touches objects that other children put in their mouths. Often the disease breaks out within a community.

If your baby usually goes to daycare, check with the staff about the attendance policy. They may want you to keep your child home until his symptoms are gone or even longer.


Should I call the doctor?

Yes. Although your baby's doctor won't be able to do much, she can make recommendations for fever and pain relief. And if you're not sure that HFMD is what you're dealing with, the doctor can confirm it by taking a look.

If your baby is under 3 months and his rectal temperature reaches 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, call the doctor immediately. (A baby this young with a fever needs to be watched carefully.)

If your baby is at least 3 months old, talk with his doctor about when she'd like you to call. She may suggest that you call if your baby's temperature reaches 101 degrees F or higher, or, once he's 6 months old, when his fever reaches 103 degrees F.

One thing your doctor will be watching for is dehydration, because the mouth sores may make it difficult for your baby to drink anything. If your baby shows any signs of dehydration — such as a dry, parched mouth or going six hours or more without wetting his diaper — call his doctor immediately.

How is it treated?

Hand-foot-and-mouth disease usually doesn't need treatment. You can use home care to help relieve your child's symptoms.

Offer your child plenty of cool fluids to help with sore throat. Cold foods such as flavored ice pops and ice cream also may help.
Don't give your child acidic or spicy foods and drinks, such as salsa or orange juice. These foods can make mouth sores more painful.
For pain and fever, give your child acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen (such as Advil). Do not give your child aspirin. It has been linked to Reye syndrome, a serious illness.


For any other symptoms not mentioned here, it is always best to consult with your Pediatrician. For more information on this disease please visit Baby Center.



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