According to the NSW government’s health department, paracetamol helps relieve the fever and discomfort in a hand, foot, and mouth disease. While it does not usually need treatment, it may lead to a serious infection that requires immediate medical attention. Local agencies also outline an incubation period where an adult or a child must stay home to avoid spreading the contagious disease. Fortunately, there are preventive measures you may apply to keep yourself and your family safe from this health issue. Learn more about these below.
How to Treat Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease?
The NSW Government has a fact sheet about this disease which outlines the following treatments.
The government considers paracetamol the first aid for fever and discomfort as the disease does not usually require treatment. However, resources discourage giving children aspirin.
Do Not Burst the Blisters
The fluid inside the blisters is infectious so instead of bursting them out, allow them to dry out naturally.
It may be painful to drink due to the mouth sores, but it’s important to hydrate yourself well.
What are the Symptoms of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease?
The above treatments are ideal for a less severe infection that has the following symptoms.
- Blisters that begin as small red dots and later turn into ulcers
- Blisters inside the cheeks, gums, sides of the tongue, palms, and soles that last for 7 to 10 days
- Low fever
- Sore throat
- Lack of appetite
In rare cases, it may also cause other illnesses that affect the other parts of the body such as the heart, brain, and spinal cord.
What are the Symptoms of a Serious Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease?
A more serious form of this disease causes the following symptoms.
- High fever for 72 hours or more (38°C or above)
- Jerking movements
- Rapid breathing
- Excessive tiredness, drowsiness, or irritability
- Difficulty walking
It’s best to see a GP immediately if any of these signs occur.
How Long is the Incubation Period for Adults and Children?
According to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the incubation period for hand, foot, and mouth disease is 3 to 6 days. Adults and children may also still be infectious while there are blisters. So, it is advisable to be out of work and school until the blisters dry up, rashes disappear, and there is no more fever.
What are the Do’s and Don’ts When Having Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease?
Recovery and preventing the spread of infection may be possible if you do the following.
- Wash hands, especially after changing nappies
- Wash contaminated surfaces
- Wash dirty clothing
- Keep the infected person away from the others
- Boil utensils after use
- Let the infected adult/child become dehydrated
- Send a child to school or go to work when there are still rashes
- Share drinking cups or utensils
Contact a local clinic to speak with healthcare professionals if you have additional concerns.
What Causes Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease?
The Royal Children’s Hospital explains in one of its articles that the coxsackie virus causes hand, foot, and mouth disease. It spreads through contact with the fluid from inside the blisters, sneezing, and coughing. It may also be present in an infected person’s bowel movements for a few weeks until he/she recovers.
How Common is Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease in Australia?
Healthdirect Australia, a health information service, reveals that it is a common viral illness in the country. It usually affects children under 10 years old but also occurs in older children and adults in some cases.
What are the Complications of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease?
It rarely causes further complications but may still cause the following.
- Aggravate eczema
- Fingernail and toenail changes
It may also lead to serious illnesses in other parts of the body. So, it is best to see a doctor if symptoms don’t improve after a few days.
How to Prevent Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease?
Doing the following hygienic measures may help in the prevention of this disease.
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after eating, using the toilet, or changing nappies
- Do not share utensils and items for personal hygiene with others
- Clean clothing, surfaces, or toys as these may have the virus
- Apply and teach the proper sneezing etiquette which involves the usage of a tissue
- Keep children at home while they are sick to minimise the chances of spreading the virus
Stocking your child’s first aid kits with hand sanitizers or antibacterial wipes may also contribute to proper sanitation.
Paracetamol, leaving the blisters, and drinking enough fluids help in treating hand, foot, and mouth disease. Its symptoms include low fever, sore throat, tiredness, and lack of appetite. However, a more serious infection may cause a 38°C or above fever, jerking movements, rapid breathing, excessive tiredness, or difficulty walking. When any of these signs and symptoms occur, see a GP immediately.
The incubation period lasts for 3 to 6 days and it is advisable to let the rashes heal and fever go down before going back to work or school. The coxsackie virus causes this disease which spreads through the fluid from the blisters, sneezing, and coughing. Although it is most common in children under 10 years old, it also impacts older kids and adults. Complications are rare, but it is best to protect yourself from the illness by maintaining proper hygiene.