"Hand, Foot and Mouth disease is one of these very interesting childhood illnesses that is incredibly common," says Dr. Mark
Flanzenbaum, M.D., FAAP of KidMed. "So many children have it, but it invokes this fear in parents because of the name: Hand, Foot
and Mouth Disease. The reality is it's an illness, a common childhood illness, that is caused by a simple cold-type virus, called the coxsackievirus."
From the time you are exposed to it -- which is at every school, daycare, etc. -- after about 3-5 days of exposure to the virus, children will often times develop the typical little blisters in the mouth, or as the name implies, the palms of the hands, or soles of the feet, says Dr. Flanzenbaum. Those blisters can be just a few little spots here and there or they can be pretty extensive.
"Kids who have it in the mouth, sometimes can have it all in the back of the throat, on the tongue, on the lips, on the gums, on the insides of the cheek -- it can be a very painful thing. It is not a dangerous thing however," says Dr.Flanzenbaum.
Those blisters can show up anywhere up to about a week and "that is a long time for a child to have that," says Dr.Flanzenbaum. "They often times will have some fever with it, they will definitely have the pain with it, sometimes they will have a little bit of a cold symptom with it."
Once there are no new blisters that show up, then your child is no longer contagious. Dr.Flanzenbaum says there is a small group of children that develop a skin rash -- a little different than blisters -- that's all over the body; and once that shows up, they are no longer contagious.
"As a parent, if you think there's a chance your child might have Hand, Foot and Mouth disease, certainly feel free, we encourage you to bring them in to KidMed and we can take a look at your child -- confirm if that's what they do or do not have, and then do what we are able to do to make them comfortable," says Dr. Flanzenbaum. "There are a lot of modalities that can be used to make children more comfortable. But, if you are at all concerned, don't take matters into your own hand ever with illness and let the experts take care of them."
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