Hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease: Not as Scary as it Sounds

It’s that time of year again, when ghosts wander the streets and ghouls knock on your door, expecting you to answer and give them yummy things to eat. Unfortunately, this time of year is also great for handing off yucky germs from one person to another.

One disease that surges in both spring and fall is hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD). The germ that causes it is a mouthful indeed – it’s a particular strain of coxsackievirus, and it’s spread, like most viruses, through contact with an infected person’s saliva or other bodily fluids. If someone with a runny nose rubs their nose and then touches a table, the virus is now available on that table for anyone to pick up with their own hands. Or if an infected someone hands you a Snickers bar on Halloween without washing his hands first – well, you may get less of a treat than you bargained for.

Who gets HFMD?

Coxsackievirus infections are most common among children under the age of 5. Symptoms include a low fever, sore throat, feeling sluggish, and a lack of appetite. A day or two later, you may notice lesions in the mouth, on the hands, and on the soles of the feet. These lesions may appear in the form of a rash, or small red spots that turn into blisters.

HFMD is easily spread among young children because they’re often in close proximity, be it in a daycare center or in the classroom. Older children and adults can certainly get infected, too. No matter what your age, hand, foot, and mouth disease doesn’t usually need treatment and will run its course in 7-10 days.

HFMD sounds scarier than it really is. But if you’re concerned about lesions on your feet, bring them to the attention of podiatrists Dr. Craig B. Frey and Dr. Megan L. Oltmann at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland. Foot lesions may indicate some other type of infection, so to be sure, don’t hesitate to consult with us at our office in Solon, Ohio. You can make an appointment online or give us a call at (440) 903-1041.