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Hand-foot-mouth disease

  • Alternative Names

    Coxsackievirus infection


    There is no specific treatment for the infection other than relief of symptoms.

    Treatment with antibiotics is not effective, and is not indicated. Over-the-counter medicines, such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) can be used to treat fever. Aspirin should not be used in viral illnesses in children under age 12 years.

    Salt water mouth rinses (1/2 teaspoon of salt to 1 glass of warm water) may be soothing if the child is able to rinse without swallowing. Make sure your child gets plenty of fluids. Extra fluid is needed when a fever is present. The best fluids are cold milk products. Many children refuse juices and sodas because their acid content causes burning pain in the ulcers.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    Generally, complete recovery occurs in 5 to 7 days.

    • Dehydration
    • Febrile seizures

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your doctor if there are signs of complications, such as pain in neck or arms and legs. Emergency symptoms include convulsions.

    You should also call if:

    • A high fever is not reduced by medication
    • Signs of dehydration occur:
      • Dry skin and mucus membranes
      • Weight loss
      • Irritability
      • Lethargy
      • Decreased or dark urine.