A mother comforting her son suffering from hand, foot, and mouth disease

How long does hand, foot and mouth last? Advice for parents.

It’s normal for parents to worry when their little one falls ill. Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common viral infection in childhood that often finds its way into households.

One of the key questions parents ask is, 'How long does hand, foot, and mouth last?' We'll offer insights into the duration of HFMD, what you can anticipate, and, most importantly, how to care for your child until they recover.

What are the starting symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease?

Understanding the early signs of HFMD is crucial for timely recognition and pediatric care. HFMD typically begins with the following initial symptoms:

  • Fever. The illness often kicks off with a fever, ranging from mild to high-grade. A sudden rise in body temperature is usually the first indicator.
  • Sore throat. Children with HFMD frequently complain of a sore throat, making swallowing uncomfortable.
  • Malaise. Your child may experience a general sense of malaise or feeling unwell. This can manifest as irritability, reduced appetite, and overall discomfort.

These initial symptoms are the prelude to the hallmark features of HFMD, including the development of sores on the hands, feet, and mouth.


How long is hand, foot and mouth contagious for?

One of the key concerns for parents dealing with hand, foot, and mouth disease is understanding how long the illness remains contagious.

HFMD is most contagious during the initial stages, particularly in the first week of the illness. This is when early symptoms like fever, sore throat and malaise appear.

Here's a breakdown of the contagious period:

  • First week. During the initial days, the virus is highly contagious. This is when it can easily spread to others through close contact.
  • Up to two weeks. In many cases, the contagious period continues for about two weeks. Even after the sores have healed, the virus can still be present in your child's feces for a while.
  • Extended precautions. To prevent transmission, it's essential to maintain strict hygiene and isolate your child during the contagious period. Remember to wash your hands frequently, avoid shared items, and keep your child home from school or daycare.

Remember, your commitment to practicing these precautions not only keeps others out of the virus's reach but also nurtures your child's recovery. Staying mindful of this prolonged contagious phase is vital in curbing the virus's spread within your community.


Treating hand, foot, and mouth disease at CityMD.

Seeking professional care is paramount when hand, foot and mouth disease is in the picture. CityMD is here to provide expert guidance and support during this challenging time.

There's no specific antiviral medication to treat HFMD. However, our experienced healthcare providers offer essential care and advice to ease your child's discomfort and help their recovery.

Here's what you can expect at your local CityMD:

  • Diagnosis. Our medical team will assess your child's symptoms, examine any sores or rashes, and discuss their medical history to confirm the diagnosis.
  • Symptom management. We can recommend and prescribe over-the-counter or prescription medications to manage symptoms such as fever, pain and discomfort.
  • Hydration. Your child must stay well-hydrated, especially if they have difficulty swallowing due to mouth sores. Our team will provide advice on fluids and ways to ensure your child stays hydrated.
  • Preventing spread. We'll offer guidance on minimizing the risk of spreading the virus to others. This includes advice on hygiene, isolation and when it's safe for your child to return to school or daycare.
  • Monitoring. Our healthcare providers will monitor your child's progress and provide ongoing support to ensure a smooth recovery.

Remember, CityMD is your partner in your child's health journey. If you have concerns about HFMD or need expert guidance, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're here to help you navigate the course of hand, foot and mouth disease, and ensure your child's comfort and well-being throughout their recovery.

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