Overview of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease
Hand Foot and Mouth Disease is an acute endemic viral infection commonly affecting children younger than ten years of age. This Hand Foot and Mouth Disease virus rarely effects adults unless they have a lower immunity level.For example, HIV and diabetic patients. Round red lesions (any localized, abnormal structural change in the body) are mostly seen in the mouth, on the hands and foot. In the mouth it is precipitated by a mild sore throat and followed by painful ulcers. On the hands and legs, a rash usually develops first and then red lesions are usually seen.
Hand Foot and Mouth Disease symptoms
- It usually begins with a mild sore throat followed by a Low-grade fever.
- Malaise (condition of general bodily weakness or discomfort)
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Sometimes ear ache
- Loss of appetite
- Lymph adenopathy (abnormal enlargement of the lymph nodes)
- Sore mouth
- Patients will usually complain of painful mouth ulcers.
- Lesions usually start as a vesicle (an elevation of the skin containing fluid) and rupture to become and ulcer. The ulcers will be covered by a yellow membrane and surrounded by a red outline.
- These lesions mentioned above can be found on buttocks of small children, palm, toes, fingers, lips and mouth.
- Non-itchy body rash, followed by sores with blisters on palms of hands and soles of feet.
Hand Foot and Mouth Disease Treatment
- The signs and symptoms usually resolve on it’s own within one to two weeks.
- Patients are mostly required to stay in bed for four to five days.
- Paracetamol is prescribed to manage the fever; Aspirin is usually contraindicated in children.
- Bland mouth rise such as sodium bicarbonate or mouth sprays may be used to help alleviate mouth discomforts.
- No antibiotic or drugs can treat this condition.
- However, sometimes antiviral drugs are used but not always proven effective.
The best treatment for this disease would be proper prevention. Ensure proper hand washing , avoid sharing personal items and also avoid contact with any suspected contaminated objects or person.
Causes of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease
Hand Foot and Mouth Disease is caused by Coxsackie type a A16 virus and enterovirus 71, both of which are subdivisions of the family of viruses know as picornovirus.
The Hand Foot and Mouth Disease virus is contagious as it transfers form one another through air borne spread. Even the slightest sneeze can be contagious. The Hand Foot and Mouth Disease Virus also spreads through the fecal-oral route.
Test and Diagnosis of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease
Diagnosis is mostly done by the clinician at chair side. Proper positioning, lighting and a skillful clinician eyes are the basic tools for diagnosing.The clinician can mostly tell if its Hand Foot and Mouth Disease based on the age group and symptoms shown by the patient. However, if the clinician is doubtful, a simple throat swab sample can be taken for lab testing to confirm the diagnosis.
Prognosis of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease
Prognosis is usually good. Patients usually recover within the expected duration.The Hand Foot and Mouth Disease lesions usually disappears without scarring.However, if patients do not recover within the expected duration, the most probable cause would be a wrong diagnosis or possible spread of the infection.
Complications of Head Foot and Mouth Disease
The most common complication of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease is dehydration. The disease usually causes painful ulcers in the mouth and throat, making swallowing painful and difficult.Most small children will refuse to drink fluids to avoid the pain. Intravenous (IV) fluids will be necessary if the child refuses to drink any fluids.
The more severe complications of the Hand Foot and Mouth Disease are Viral Meningitis (infection of the brain’s meninges) and Encephalitis (Inflammation of the brain).
When to contact a doctor
Even if your child only has two or three of the signs above and the symptoms will resolve themselves , It is better to contact the Doctor immediately when you suspect your child has Hand Foot and Mouth Disease.This is important so that your child can be properly diagnose and isolated, so he or she does not spread the virus to other children.This Hand Foot and Mouth Disease virus is very contagious, imagine children playing and sharing toys everyday.We do not want an epidemic to break loose due to negligence.
Furthermore, sometimes even when the symptoms are similar to Hand Foot and Mouth Disease it might not actually be this disease at all.There are many other diseases which exhibit similar symptoms.