What is hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD)?

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a viral infection caused by a strain of Coxsackie virus which is common in children but can occur in adults. The virus that causes HFMD can be found in an infected person's:

  • Nose and throat secretions (saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus)
  • Blister fluid
  • Feces (stool)

An infected person may spread the virus that cause HFMD to another person through:

  • Close personal contact
  • The air (through sneezing or coughing)
  • Contact with feces (stool)
  • Contact with contaminated objects and surfaces

Symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease?

The first symptoms of HFMD usually start three to five days after exposure to the virus and can last up to seven to 10 days. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Reduced appetite
  • Sore throat
  • Feeling of being unwell

Treatment of HFMD

There is no specific treatment for HFMD. Things can be done to relieve symptoms such as:

  • Take over-the-counter medications to relieve pain and fever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • Drinking plenty of fluids to stay hydrated


You can lower your risk of being infected by:

  • Washing your hands well and often with soap and water, especially after using the bathroom
  • Covering your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing with a tissue and disposing of tissue
  • Avoiding close contact such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups with anyone that may be infected
  • Disinfecting common surfaces regularly with household cleaners
  • Avoiding group settings if you have a fever or rash, specifically blisters on your hands, feet, or mouth

If you have questions, concerns, or think you might have HFMD, please call Health Service at 724-357-2550.