Various strains have been detected in HFMD cases in India during the last few years. The spike in cases of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) has forced many NCR schools in New Delhi to opt for online classes mode. An advisory has been issued by many schools to sensitize the parents about the viral infection that is spreading fast among school children, especially among primary class students.
Dr. Tushar Parikh is a Pediatrician and Neonatologist in Pune and currently practicing in Motherhood Hospital. For the past 22 years, he has worked as a Pediatrician and Neonatologist.
All you need to know about Hand Foot Mouth Disease
Dr. Tushar Parikh says, “Hand Foot Mouth Disease is a viral disease. During covid, we did not see many cases of Hand Foot Mouth Disease. Children were not at risk during covid as there were many precautions taken. This infection is seen in preschool children below the age of 5 years. It is a viral infection and can spread from one child to another. As the name suggests, this disease affects the Hand Foot Mouth mostly. The child gets infected and boils on legs and buttocks and also affects the perioral area around the mouth.”
Symptoms of HFMD
Dr. Tushar Parikh states, “The symptoms of Hand Foot Mouth Disease-
Seen under 5 years of age
Mild fever or cold to start with
Ulceration in mouth on 2nd day
Red Rashes on Hand Foot Mouth
Watery blister - 2mm in size may spread to the entire body.
Locations affected- palms, soles, knees, elbow, and buttocks
Boils on mouth affecting soft palate and throat, tongue
Redness and pain in the mouth
Difficulty in eating and drinking
No desire to eat
HFMD-Contagious or NOT
Dr. Tushar Parikh informs, “Hand Foot Mouth Disease occurs due to coxsackievirus. It is very contagious and can spread in close proximity. The Infection rate is 50%. This may affect the young age group of children below 7 - 8 years of age. The entero-virus group of viruses spreads through the fecal-oral route. It spreads through a fecal route hence handwashing is very important.
Blisters are also infectious and may enter the mouth. It may spread through close proximity to children. It is important to explain to children about handwashing and spread awareness about sharing tiffins.”
Complications in children due to HFMD
Dr. Tushar Parikh tells, “The complications of Hand Foot Mouth Disease are as follows-
- Febrile seizures due to high fever
- Ulceration in mouth
- Drooling of mouth
- Dehydration as cannot drink and eat
- Brain infection is rare
- Reduced food and water intake
This may require admission into hospital.”
Duration of HFMD last
Dr. Tushar Parikh emphasizes and states, “The duration of Hand Foot Mouth Disease lasts for 7 - 10 days.
- Mild fever with cold and cough for 2 -3 days
- Blisters on the 3rd day
- Scab formation with no new rashes
- Scabs fall off on 9th 10th day
Children suffering from Hand Foot Mouth Disease are suggested to avoid going to school until the scabs fall off and the disease ends.”
Preventive measures for HFMD
Dr. Tushar Parikh informs, “The preventive measure of Hand Foot Mouth Disease are -
- Avoid spread and direct contact with children suffering from HFMD
- Avoid close proximity with other children
- Awareness about handwashing among children below 5 years of age
- Ensure children wear masks in school.
Can only babies get HFMD?
Dr. Tushar Parikh informs, “It is rare in adults and seen only children less than 5 years and rarely at age of 7 or 8 years
Do HFMD symptoms only appear on the hand, feet, and mouth?
Dr. Tushar Parikh informs, “Rashes are common 90% of the time on hand, foot and mouth. It will also be present on trunks as well.”
Can a child take a bath in HFMD?
Dr. Tushar Parikh informs, “During the first 3 days, it is advisable not to take a bath. Use moisturizing solutions and prescribe ointments after the bath.
Edited By: Dr.Rati Parwani, Neonatologist, Motherhood Hospital
Contributed By: Dr. Tushar Parikh, Pediatrician