Hand, foot and mouth disease is caused primarily by Coxsackie virus strain A16. It occurs in infants and children under the age of 5 years but can occur in adolescents and adults. As with most childhood illnesses, the virus is more severe in older individuals. The disease is seen year round but occurs mostly in the summer and fall months. We are seeing A LOT of it right now in the office!
The illness will usually occur about 4-5 days after exposure. Coxsackie virus is part of the enterovirus group and thus, lives in the gut (entero) and is transmitted by contact with contaminated feces or salivary contact as the mouth is connected to the gut. Good hand washing will prevent the transmission and spread of this illness.
➡️ Low grade fever
➡️ Sore throat, often with ulcers in the mouth
➡️ Skin blisters on the hands, feet and diaper areas will often follow.
The illness lasts about 5-7 days and is contagious for about a week. Children can return to school/daycare when they are fever free and skin lesions are healing. The greatest concern is dehydration as the mouth lesions are painful.
Integrative Treatment Options
✅ Peppermint oil for fever: Apply to feet and neck every 2-3 hours as needed
✅ Coconut oil to skin blisters: Natural anti-inflammatory oil; helps skin lesions heal.
✅ Ginger root tea (with honey if child is older than 1 year)
1" peeled ginger simmered in boiling water for 20 minutes; cool and strain. Ginger is a great anti-inflammatory herb and helps decrease nausea as well.
✅ Avoid acidic foods e.g. oranges, orange juice, tomato based foods
Ice chips and fruit popsicles are great for mouth cooling and hydration
Hydrate with water, Kinderlyte or NUUM tablets for extra electrolytes to prevent dehydration.
Call your doctor if your child is:
✅ Not drinking well
✅ Not urinating well
✅ The lesions are getting worse
✅ Fever for more than 3-4 days.
***Art credit given to Julie Osterhout for her beautiful hand drawn pieces.***