Hand Foot Mouth Disease in Toddlers – Everything You Need To Know

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Does your toddler tend to chew things lying on the floor? Is he developing sores on his hands or feet? If he is, he may have ‘hand-foot-mouth-disease’ or HFM. What is hand-foot-mouth disease? Read this post and find out.

As your baby becomes a toddler, he just can’t sit still! He needs to pick things up, explore and experience them. Usually, toddlers do this by chewing or sucking on things. Sucking or chewing things on the floor is a cause of concern, as it increases the risk of your toddler contracting bacterial and viral infections. The infections may escalate to digestive problems and even lead to an eruption of sores or hand-foot-mouth disease (HFM). Read this post to know all about hand-foot-mouth disease.

What Is Hand Foot And Mouth Disease In Toddlers?

Hand-foot-mouth disease is a condition that causes the eruption of sores on the mouth, the hands, and the feet. This condition usually tends to disappear in a week or so, and is more commonly observed in toddlers. While it may happen in any season, HFM is most prevalent during summers and fall. (1)

Causes Of Hand Foot And Mouth Disease:

Hand-foot-mouth disease toddler is a contagious disease. A virus from the enterovirus family leads to hand-foot-mouth disease. The viruses reside in the digestive tract of an individual, and then spread from individual to individual by means of a transfer from unwashed surfaces contaminated by feces. The Hand foot and mouth disease in toddlers can be easily spread.

Children between 1-4 years of age are at a high risk of contracting this condition, maybe because these infections are common in preschools and childcare centers. (2)

[ Read: Teething In Toddlers ]

Signs and Symptoms:

A toddler with hand-foot-mouth disease exhibits the following signs and symptoms:

  • Malaise (feeling of being unwell)
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Red rashes, sometimes accompanied by itching and blistering, mostly on the palms, soles and on the buttocks.
  • Painful red blisters on the gums, tongue, and inside of the cheeks.
  • Irritability.

These signs and symptoms usually show up within three days of infection, and fever is probably the first sign of this disease, often followed by soreness of the throat and appetite loss.

Sores typically start to develop two days after the onset of fever. (3)

[ Read: Sore Throat In Toddlers ]

Treatment Options:

In most cases, medications are not needed since this disease goes away on its own. Medical science has not yet managed to find a treatment for this disease. However, some simple steps can be taken to manage it and speed up recovery. The doctor may prescribe analgesic medications to ease the pain associated with sores, sometimes accompanied by fever-reducing medications as well.

Toddlers affected by the disease can also be asked to take a lukewarm bath to bring down body temperature. (4)

Possible Complications:

Once diagnosed, it is important to seek proper treatment for the disease. Probably the most common complication associated with HFM is dehydration- this is because this illness causes the development of sores in the mouth, which makes swallowing painful and difficult. Hand foot and mouth disease toddlers can be turn into a dangerous condition.

If left untreated, this disease may also develop into a rare and serious form of infection that affects the toddler’s brain. Conditions such as viral meningitis (inflammation of the membranes of the brain and the spinal cord), and encephalitis (potentially life-threatening inflammation of the brain) may also occur. (5)

Toddlers affected by this disease may become irritable and cranky due to painful sores, and the best way to deal with it is to create a comfortable atmosphere. Cold foods such as ice-creams and popsicles also provide some relief from the pain.

We hope this article helped you understand more about the hand-foot-mouth disease. Has your toddler contracted HFM? How did you deal with it? Tell us here. Our fellow moms would love to hear from you.

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