Foot-hand-mouth disease, or Coxsackie infection, is a viral infection that primarily affects children. It is generally not severe but needs to be monitored and treated because its symptoms can be worrisome. Even if this infectious disease seems impressive, you have no reason to panic.
What is Foot-Hand-Mouth Disease?
It is a viral infection mainly caused by the Coxsackie A16 enterovirus, which affects mostly children, mostly in summer and early fall. The infection first manifests itself in a slight fever and fatigue, followed by the appearance of small blisters in the mouth, palms of the hands, soles of the feet and buttocks. Certain symptoms identical to those of the common cold can also be observed, fever, irritated throat and cough.
Although it is mostly benign, this infection is very contagious and is transmitted through contact with hands, food, objects infected with saliva and stools. It is important to note that the virus can live up to 12 weeks in the stool after the onset of the disease.
Children generally suffering from this infection are between six months and four years old and heal after a week. However, even if the small vesicles of the hands and feet disappear within a few days, those in the mouth may persist for a few weeks, complicating the ingestion of food and drink. The suffering child is contagious for a week, the duration of the illness.
How to treat the disease?
There is no specific treatment that targets the foot-hand-mouth disease virus, it is best to let it run so that the infection heals spontaneously.
However, it is recommended to use certain methods to alleviate symptoms such as taking medication to lower fever and pain due to blisters; Abundant hydration by drinking plenty of water or cold milk; The consumption of compotes and yogurts that are easy to swallow and do not irritate the blisters. They heal themselves, they must not be touched or pierced.
If he is old enough, encourage your child to make gargles with salt water to soften his sore throat (half a teaspoon of salt mixed with 250 milliliters of warm water).
How to prevent the disease?
To prevent your child from getting infected with this virus, make sure he or she is washing your hands properly several times a day, essentially after going to the toilet and before eating. Make sure your child's surroundings frequently wash their hands.
As far as you are concerned, you must absolutely wash your hands as soon as you are about to make physical contact with your child or to manipulate objects or toys that belong to him.
Finally, it is imperative to clean and disinfect all surfaces that have been in contact with your child's stools.
It is advisable to keep your child at home as long as the fever does not drop so that it rests and does not contaminate other people.
When to consult?
If your child has these symptoms, consult your pediatrician promptly:
- Loss of appetite
- Stiff neck
- Aches and pains
If the cause of the infection is the rarest source of enterovirus 71, then complications can occur in the form of encephalitis or viral meningitis. The most severe cases die as a result of edema or pulmonary haemorrhage.