Fast Facts about Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease


A rash on the soles of child’s feet should be a red flag for a parent. It’s one of the tell-tale signs of a common childhood illness known as Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease (HFM). Here’s what you need to know about this condition:

Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease…

  • is common this time of year - late winter / early spring.
  • usually afflicts children 5 years old and younger, but is also seen in older kids and sometimes in adults.
  • is in no way related to the disease that affects cattle - hoof and mouth disease.
  • causes symptoms that can include blisters on the hands and feet as well as small ulcers in the mouth, fever, headache, sore throat, and a feeling of malaise.
  • can cause a child to lose his appetite. Eating and drinking can be painful due to the sores in the mouth. Lack of drinking can lead to dehydration.
  • is highly contagious, including the few days before any symptoms appear.
  • is caused by a virus. That means it’s not treatable with antibiotics.
  • has no specific treatment except to keep the child comfortable with fever-reducing medications, soft foods, and cool fluids.
  • will run its course in about 10 days.
  • can be prevented with proper hygiene, including frequent hand-washing.

Of course, any rash that causes a child discomfort should be looked at by a medical professional. It may be HFM, or it may not be. Count on the expertise of your pediatrician to properly diagnose your child.

Any questions specifically about your child’s feet can also be expertly addressed by board-certified podiatrists Dr. Samantha Boyd, Dr. Hal Ornstein, and Dr. Joseph Saka at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Center. We treat all issues of the lower extremities, including injury, chronic pain, diabetes foot care, and other diseases. If a Spanish-speaking doctor would make your child more comfortable, you’ll be happy to know that Dr. Boyd is fluent in Spanish. Contact us online or call us at (732) 905-1110.  We have two offices in Monmouth County, NJ and are happy to see you in either Howell or Jackson.