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Childhood illnesses: Hand-foot-mouth season: symptoms and treatment of a virus that spreads between babies and children

Saturday, September 25, 2021, 8:04 p.m.


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It is one of the least desired messages in the school parents’ WhatsApp group: “My son has hand-foot-mouth disease.” It is a phrase that, furthermore, he has surely heard if he has a friend with small children. And even more so in the middle of going back to school and with the arrival of the first cold weather, when viruses proliferate. This disease is very typical in babies and children under five years of age. And its symptoms are also very recognizable: some fever, sores in the mouth, sore throat, spots on the hand for about a week. Although it all starts with discomfort in the throat.

“It is a mild viral disease for which there is no specific treatment to treat it, only some anti-inflammatory for sore throats or some ointment for blisters,” says Dr. Pedro Navarro, a pediatrician specializing in vaccination.

The main routes of infection are through secretions from the nose, throat, feces and blisters.

And, although it is commonly called ‘mouth-hand-foot’ disease, symptoms do not have to occur in all three areas. It can only appear in two of them. First, it starts with an irritated throat, which can lead to some fever, which at first can be confused with other pathologies. In a few days, spots will appear on your feet or hands, or both, which will evolve into small blisters or bubbles. It is then when the diagnosis is clear: the child has ‘hand-foot-mouth’.

In addition, it consists of a contagious disease that can be transmitted on more than one occasion – including adults – and for which there is no vaccine. Just one recommendation from the specialist: follow good hygiene to avoid infections, “since the main routes of transmission are through secretions from the nose, throat, feces and blisters,” points out Dr. Navarro. Despite everything, improvement is experienced within a week, as long as there are no complications.


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