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Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

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This is a fact sheet that contains information about hand, foot and mouth disease.
Can occur at any age but is more common in children. Caused by: It is not related to the virus that infects animals. Symptoms: An infected person may have a fever, headache, sore throat, lose their appetite and feel unwell. Painful sores appear in the mouth and on the tongue, as well, there are blister-like sores on the hands (palms and fingers) and soles of the feet. Occasionally there may be sores on the buttocks. There may also be a skin rash. It may last for 7 to 10 days. Incubation: 10-14 days, contagious for 1 to 2 weeks after getting sick. Treatment There is no specific treatment. Use comfort measures as needed. Communicable: The virus stays in the large intestine for several weeks, and is passed in the stool. It is also in the respiratory tract for a week or less. Transmitted by: Hand, foot and mouth disease is passed on by direct contact with nose and throat discharges of infected people, similar to the cold virus. As well, it is transmitted by the fecal/oral route. Complications: People who have a weak immune system can have persistent central nervous system infections lasting for several months. Other: The virus can be found in the faeces without signs of illness. Your child may return to school or daycare when they feel well enough. Prevention: Hand washing and personal hygiene is very important. Hands need to be washed with soap and water after using the toilet and before eating or handling food. Cover the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Make sure used tissues are disposed of into the garbage and not within the reach of young children. For more information visit

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