Hand, foot and mouth disease

Hand foot and Mouth Disease is a fairly common viral infection usually affecting young children. It is caused by a virus from the coxsackie group.

The disease has an incubation period of 3-5 days and often occurs in outbreaks at schools and nurseries.

As the name suggests the illness results in blisters on the hands and feet with ulcers in the mouth, occasionally the rash may be more widespread.

Paracetamol may be used to treat any discomfort but the disease will go away within a few days and doesn't require any treatment.

There is probably little point in excluding children from school or nursery (Visit the Health Protection Agency to see their recommended guidelines).

Finally the disease should not be confused with the similarly named foot and mouth disease affecting animals, this is caused by a completely different virus which is rarely passed to humans and even then only in a mild form.

Further information

Health Protection Agency

This article published on
28 November 2005

Next review date 11/1/2013


Children's health
Skin and hair

Areaof the body

Immune system

Male or female?


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